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How to Make Absolutely Perfect Mushroom Risotto

April 26, 2020 (Last Updated: June 2, 2020)

This 6 ingredient mushroom risotto recipe with expertly seared pearl onions and parmesan is the only risotto recipe you’ll ever need! It’s creamy, dreamy and cooked to perfection. It can also be made vegetarian and it’s naturally gluten free!

A bowl of mushroom risotto with small, seared pearl onions on a lace tablecloth.

A good friend of mine brought mushroom risotto to one of my lovely lady’s supper club dinner parties and it was such a hit that I decided I needed to master it! It’s now one of my favorite go-to dinner party side dishes and it never fails to impress!

It can be a little tricky to get risotto just right. It can be easily under-done with a gritty texture, or over-done and mushy – even if it seems you followed the directions to a T! But this recipe includes every simple tip and trick you need to make sure your risotto is delivered perfectly creamy, perfectly fluffy and absolutely delicious to your dinner table. 

A closeup of a spoon of mushroom risotto.

A Few Tips!

1. Heat the broth first and ladle it into the rice.

Most instructions on the back of Arborio rice won’t include this important instruction. Heating the broth first and ladling it into the rice half-a-cup at a time, then stirring until absorbed, results in more thoroughly, evenly cooked risotto. It absorbs more quickly and deeply into the rice.

2. Stir constantly.

Risotto requires constant supervision and stirring. Luckily, it only takes a total of about 15 minutes to absorb all of the broth, so just ladle and stir until absorbed, ladle and stir, ladle and stir.

3. You don’t have to serve it al dente.

You’ve probably been told to serve risotto al dente for a few reasons: first, al dente pasta and rice has a lower glycemic index than when cooked until soft. Second, risotto continues to soften a bit after it’s been taken off the stove, so when undercooked, it actually becomes less firm on its own.

However, in my experience, it never gets quite as soft and dreamy enough to my liking when I make it al dente. It’s always a little hard and gritty in the center. So if you want to serve your risotto perfectly cooked through, add one more ½ cup of broth at the very end, stir for 2 minutes, then place a lid on the pot and allow it to sit for 15 minutes. It will slowly absorb that last half-cup to decadent perfection.

4. Sear those onions and mushrooms separately!

Oh, it makes such a difference! Don’t cook the mushrooms and onions at the same time unless you have a very big pot that can allow all of the pearl onions and all of the mushrooms to lay face down on the bottom. This recipe is made extra special by the perfectly seared mushrooms and onions. If they’re simply cooked while overcrowding in the pot, the risotto won’t be nearly as impressive.

A pot of seared mushrooms.

A Few Common Questions:

1. What goes well with mushroom risotto?

Green vegetables like steamed asparagus, broccolini, roasted french beans, roasted Brussels sprouts, seasoned with only salt and pepper to allow the richness of the risotto to take center stage. It’s also a delightful pair with bitter leafy greens like sautéed Swiss chard and collard greens. Another fantastic pair is sautéed baby bok choi!

For a main, poultry with an herbal seasoning is perfect, like garlic and sage stuffed Cornish game hen. It’s also a lovely complement to duck or turkey, making it a wonderful Thanksgiving side dish! It’s also quite nice with a seared salmon or pork chops.

2. Is risotto pasta or rice?

Risotto is made from a rice that is often confused with pasta because terms to describe how to cook it, like “al dente,” are also used to describe how to cook pasta.

3. Is Arborio rice the only kind of risotto rice?

Arborio rice is the most common kind of rice used to make risotto, but others such a Carnaroli, Nano, Vialone and Baldo are also risotto rice. They are all high-starch rices that are stickier and creamier than other kinds of rice.

4. Can risotto be refrigerated and reheated?

Yes, and it will last deliciously for 5-6 days if stored and refrigerated in a container with a lid. To reheat, simply microwave it for 2 minutes, or place it in a pot over MEDIUM heat and stir for 7-10 minutes.

5. What do I need to make this recipe?

  • Small pot
  • Large pot
  • Small bowl of water
  • Cutting board and sharp knife
  • Cheese grater
  • Wooden spoon or spatula
  • Measuring cup

How to Make Absolutely Perfect Mushroom Risotto – Step by Step

Note: this recipe is NOT for al dente risotto. It’s for evenly, thoroughly cooked risotto. To make your risotto al dente, simply use only 3 cups of broth instead of 3½ cups, and don’t do the last step.

A step by step process showing how to blanch pearl onions.

First, peel your pearl onions like a pro! Bring a small pot of water to a rolling boil and blanch 8 pearl onions for 30 seconds. Quickly remove the onions and place them in a bowl of cold water for about a minute. Remove them, slice the top and bottom, and the skin will easily peel right off.

A step by step process showing how to slice onions and mushrooms, grate cheese and heat broth.

1. Once 8 pearl onions are peeled and the tops and bottoms sliced off, slice them in half. Set aside.

2. Slice 8 oz. of baby bella mushrooms in quarters. Set aside.

3. Grate 8 oz. of fresh parmesan. Set aside.

4. Warm 3½ cups of beef broth in a medium pot over a LOW flame.

A step by step process showing how to sear onions and mushrooms, and toast rice.

5. While the broth heats, add 1 tbsp. olive oil to a large pot and place pear onions face down. Sear onions on HIGH heat for 4-5 minutes, without turning them over or touching them.

6. Once they have a nice dark sear, flip them and allow them to sauté for another 3 minutes, and remove them from the pot.

7. Add 2 tbsp. olive oil to the pot with sliced mushrooms, and stir them around with a spoon to coat them. Flip them over to ensure that a flat side of each mushroom is face-down on the pan before turning on heat. Turn heat to HIGH, and sear them for 7 minutes without touching or flipping them. Then stir them around with a spoon, and allow them to sauté for 3-4 more minutes. Remove from pan.

8. Add 1 tbsp. olive oil to the pot and add 8 oz. Arborio rice. Stir and shake the rice around until it’s evenly covering the bottom. Turn heat to MEDIUM, and toast the rice for 2 minutes.

A step by step process showing how to make mushroom risotto.

9. Ladle in 1 cup of broth, stirring rice constantly until completely absorbed. Then ladle ½ cup, stir, allow to absorb and repeat.

10. When you have just ½ cup of broth left, turn off the heat under the broth (you’ll add this last half- cup later), and add your mushrooms and onions to the rice. Stir and allow it to absorb.

11. Once broth is absorbed, add the grated parmesan and stir until melted and creamy.

12. Add last ½ cup of broth, stir for 1-2 minutes until just about absorbed, then turn off heat. Place a lid on top of the pot and allow it to sit for 10-15 minutes. Give it a nice stir, salt and pepper to taste and serve.

A closeup bowl of mushroom risotto with small, seared pearl onions.

Help Yourself to Even More Delicious Side Dish Inspiration!

And for more inspiration, follow me on INSTAGRAM @shekeepsalovelyhome, on PINTEREST and FACEBOOK! And if you ever make any of my tasty drinks or treats, take a picture and tag me. I want to see!

A bowl of mushroom risotto with small, seared pearl onions on a lace tablecloth.
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5 from 1 vote

How to Make Absolutely Perfect Mushroom Risotto

This 5 ingredient mushroom risotto recipe with expertly seared pearl onions and parmesan is the only risotto recipe you’ll ever need! It's creamy, dreamy and cooked to perfection.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Resting Time15 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: International
Keyword: mushroom risotto
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 583kcal

Equipment

  • Small pot
  • Large pot
  • Small bowl of water
  • Cutting board and sharp knife
  • Cheese grater
  • Wooden spoon or spatula
  • Measuring cup

Ingredients

  • 8

    oz.

    baby bella mushrooms

    - sliced in quarters

  • 8

    pearl onions

    - peeled and sliced in half

  • 8

    oz.

    parmesan 

    - freshly grated
  • cups

    beef broth

    - or vegetable broth
  • 4

    tbsp. 

    olive oil

  • 1 cup Arborio rice

Instructions

To Blanch and Easily Peel the Pearl Onions

  • First, peel your pearl onions like a pro! Bring a small pot of water to a rolling boil and blanch 8 pearl onions for 30 seconds. Quickly remove the onions and place them in a bowl of cold water for about a minute. Remove them, slice the top and bottom, and the skin will easily peel right off.

For the Risotto

  • Once 8 pearl onions are peeled and the tops and bottoms sliced off, slice them in half. Set aside. Slice 8 oz. of baby bella mushrooms in quarters. Set aside. Grate 8 oz. of fresh parmesan. Set aside. Warm 3½ cups of beef broth in a medium pot over a LOW flame.
  • While the broth heats, add 1 tbsp. olive oil to a large pot and place pear onions face down. Sear onions on HIGH heat for 4-5 minutes, without turning them over or touching them. Once they have a nice dark sear, flip them and allow them to sauté for another 3 minutes, and remove them from the pot.
  • Add 2 tbsp. olive oil to the pot with sliced mushrooms, and stir them around with a spoon to coat them. Flip them over to ensure that a flat side of each mushroom is face-down on the pan before turning on heat. Turn heat to HIGH, and sear them for 7 minutes without touching or flipping them. Then stir them around with a spoon, and allow them to sauté for 3-4 more minutes. Remove from pan.
  • Add 1 tbsp. olive oil to the pot and add 8 oz. Arborio rice. Stir and shake the rice around until it’s evenly covering the bottom. Turn heat to MEDIUM, and toast the rice for 2 minutes. Ladle in 1 cup of broth, stirring rice constantly until completely absorbed. Then ladle ½ cup, stir, allow to absorb and repeat.
  • When you have just ½ cup of broth left, turn off the heat under the broth (you’ll add this last half- cup later), and add your mushrooms and onions to the rice. Stir and allow it to absorb. Once broth is absorbed, add the grated parmesan and stir until melted and creamy.
  • To serve risotto perfectly cooked through, and not al dente, Add last ½ cup of broth, stir for 1-2 minutes until just about absorbed, then turn off heat. Place a lid on top of the pot and allow it to sit for 10-15 minutes. Give it a nice stir, salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Notes

This recipe is NOT for al dente risotto. It’s for evenly, thoroughly cooked risotto. To make your risotto al dente, simply use only 3 cups of broth instead of 3½ cups, and don’t do the last step.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 583kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 39mg | Sodium: 1696mg | Potassium: 545mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 443IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 708mg | Iron: 3mg

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