This is a classic from my region, Veneto. Just two ingredients make this risotto so amazing: porcini mushrooms and morlacco, a cheese coming directly for the Grappa area, just a few miles north of my hometown. If you ever plan to visit Veneto, you should pay a visit to Bassano Del Grappa, where you can find this cheese along with the more famous “Tagliatella” (a less alcoholic grappa which believe me, tastes like anything but lighter fluid, Goldilocks said it tasted more like eggnog).
It might not be easy to find Morlacco abroad, but you can totally switch that cheese with something easier to find like Asiago, always a cheese from Veneto but produced a little more north west from Bassano. Switching to Asiago you’ll lose the typical slightly savory after taste of the morlacco cheese and get a slighlty sweeter and spicy taste instead, but it’s still a very good match with porcini mushrooms.
Goldilocks loved this rice so much she asked me to make it again the day after.
Porcini and Morlacco Risotto
- 10 grams of dried Porcini Mushrooms
- 50 grams of Morlacco cheese or Asiago Mezzano in little cubes.
- 1 Finely minced shallot
- 1 clove of garlic
- 150 grams of Vialone nano or Carnaroli rice.
- A grind of fresh pepper
- One teaspoon of finely cut Parsley
Rehydrate the porcini mushrooms in one liter of warm water for two hours, then drain them, squeeze them gently (DON’T throw out the water) and cook them with the fine minced shallot and the clove of garlic for 15 minutes with a tablespoon of oil. Adjust with salt and then add the teaspoon of Parsley. Then turn the heat off and leave it there.
Meanwhile filter the mushrooms water with a strainer and a coffee filter or some paper towel to remove the impurities. You’ll end up with a dark, intense mushroom smelling water. Add just a pinch of salt bring it to a boil (go very easy on salt, you don’t want it to be too salty when the water evaporates, it’s better to do that later).
Toast the rice in a large deep pan for 2-3 minutes, stop the cooking with a ladle of boiling mushroom water, then add enough water to cover all the rice in the pot and cook at medium temperature, adding ladles of boiling mushrooms water from time to time when the rice gets too dry. Depending on the rice, it’ll take between 15 to 25 minutes to cook and at the very end you’ll want to use less ladles of water to avoid overcooking it when making it dense. It requires some trial and error to get used to the right quantity. 5 Minutes before the rice is ready, add the mushrooms and keep cooking. At the end, add salt to taste, rise the temperature and let the remaining water evaporate until the rice reaches the right consistency based on your taste, then turn the heat off and move the pan off the stove.
Add the 50 grams of Morlacco or Asiago in cubes and mix for one minute until completely melted, then cover with a lid and let the rice rest for another 3 minutes. This will allow all the flavors to blend. Lift the lid, give one last stir, and serve.