So Much Umami Goodness
The inspiration for this dish was sparked by an Oregon black truffle that we found at our local Zupan’s Market. Our recipe features a delicious umami trifecta of ingredients with copious amounts of black truffle shavings, wild mushrooms, and aged parmesan cheese. We paired it with our 2018 Freedom Hill Chardonnay, a silky, full-throttled white with a slight savory edge—it dances in pitch-perfect harmony with the earthiness of the mushrooms and the decadent creaminess of the risotto.
It’s worth noting that Oregon’s black truffle season runs from December to March. For those of you who are not familiar with Oregon truffles, we recommend checking out the Oregon Truffle Festival. While this year’s events are being held virtually thanks to COVID, it’s a great opportunity to learn more about the burgeoning cultivation of Oregon truffles in our state. (We admit to getting totally sidetracked by the video posted on their homepage that features truffle hunting dogs.)
Back to the recipe. You can, of course, substitute Oregon black truffles with their European cousins. And, in the event that you cannot find fresh truffles at your local specialty food store, there are online retailers that carry them, like D’Artagnan. We especially love D’Artagnan’s black and white truffle butters because they’re packed with truffle shavings. They are also available year-round and are far less expensive than whole, fresh truffle (add a dollop to the pan and stir it in right before serving). A generous sprinkling of truffle oil will also do the trick, building a layer truffle-infused goodness into the finished dish.
1 pound fresh mushrooms such as shiitake, crimini, hen of the woods, chanterelle, lion’s mane, or morels washed, halved, and sliced
2 small shallots, finely minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons butter
4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated parmesan
Black truffle, shaved, for topping
Shaved parmesan for topping
Freshly ground black pepper
Fresh basil or flat leaf parsley for garnish, if desired
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a heavy skillet. Add the mushrooms and shallots, lightly salt them, then sautée until they are tender and lightly browned. Add the garlic and thyme, stir for a minute, then set the mushroom mixture aside.
Warm the chicken stock in a small saucepan. While the stock heating, add the remaining butter to the skillet, then add the rice and sautée over medium-high heat until the rice is translucent. Add the white wine and bring to a simmer, until the liquid is absorbed, Add one cup of the chicken broth, and stir until the broth absorbed by the rice. Add the rest of the broth, one cup at a time, and stir until most of the liquid is absorbed. This step requires patience and almost constant stirring!
Lower the heat and add the heavy cream, then stir in the grated parmesan. At this stage, the risotto should be creamy while retaining a bit of an al dente bite. Finally, stir in the mushroom mixture.
Transfer the risotto to a serving bowl. Top with the remaining mushrooms, then shave the truffle over the top. Be generous! While a truffle shaver is best way to slice them, it’s also possible to use a mandolin or a vegetable peeler in a pinch.
Garnish with ground black pepper and fresh basil or flat leaf parsley. Serves 2-3.