Risotto is a labor of love, when you make this grab a glass of wine and enjoy the process.
4 tablespoons butter
2 cups fresh mushrooms such as portobello or cremini, cleaned
8 cups chicken or vegetable stock, see our homemade chicken stock recipe
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 3/4 cups arborio risotto rice
3/4 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup mascarpone cheese or cream cheese
1/3 cup fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
12 sage leaves for garnish
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese shavings for serving
Clean mushrooms by wiping with dry paper towel. Remove mushroom stems then coarsely chop them and set aside. Cut mushroom caps into 1/4-inch thick slices. (If large, cut into bite-sized pieces).
Pour broth into a 3-quart saucepan. Add chopped mushroom stems, thyme, bay leaf and soy sauce. Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer. Cook at a low simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Strain stock and discard the stems, thyme and bay leaf. You should have about 6 cups broth; if not, add water or more stock.
In 3-quart deep heavy saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add mushroom slices and onion then cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the rice and cook for 1 minute. Pour in the wine then cook until reduced by half.
Add a 1/2 cup of the mushroom infused stock and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the rice has absorbed liquid. Repeat this until 5 to 5 1/2 cups of broth has been added and the rice is cooked, but slightly chewy.
Stir in the cream cheese and grated Parmesan cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
To make fried sage leaves, in 8-inch skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add sage leaves, a few at a time, in single layer; fry 15 seconds, but do not brown. Transfer leaves from skillet to paper towels and sprinkle with pinch of salt.
Serve risotto in individual shallow bowls. Top each with a few sage leaves and parmesan cheese shavings.
Make-ahead: The mushroom infused stock can be made up to 2 days in advance. Keep it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Warm before adding to the risotto.
Recipe updated, originally posted December 2011. Since posting this in 2011, we have tweaked the recipe to be more clear. – Adam and Joanne