Sexy Cepe Risotto

What do ou say to mushroom risotto?

You say "Yes please."

When I was in France we went to a little bistro on the sidewalk. I had some of the most memorable delicious food of my life there. The first time we went the waiter told us in beautiful accented English, "Do you want the best mushrooms in the world?" My cousin said, "Yes please." And then an hour later, she got the most beautiful, fragrant omelette, filled with these mushrooms called cepes. Which is pronounced like "sex" only with a "p." To be honest, these mushrooms are the most sexy delicious mushrooms ever.

My beautiful cousin Claire was in town last weekend and she loves to eat. She was in France too, and she loved the sexy cepes almost as much as I did. In loving memory of those sexy cepes we all bought bags of the dried fungi to bring home. Only, when you have mushrooms so beautiful and special, you want a good occasion to celebrate their specialness. Her mini-visit was a good reason to celebrate. So we made this mushroom risotto. We made it with our sexy cepes. But you can use porcini, just as the recipe calls for.

For the uninformed, risotto is something Claire wishes she could eat at every meal (other than cake). If that isn't a recommendation to make this right away then I don't know what is.

Sexy Cepe Risotto
adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook

1 1/2 cups water
5 1/2 cups chicken stock or store bought low-sodium broth
1 1/4 ounces (about 1 3/4 cups) dried porcini mushrooms OR Cepes, if you have them
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 cups (about 14 ounces) Arborio rice
1 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 2 ounces), plus additional for serving
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine water and 1 cup stock in a small saucepan and heat until hot. Put mushrooms and 1 tablespoon oil in a bowl and oour hot liquid over them. Let soak for 30 minutes.
Lift porcini out of soaking liquid, squeeze excess liquid back into bowl and rise well to remove any grit. Coarsely chop porcini. Pour soakin liquid through a fine sieve lined with a dampened paper towel into a large saucepan. Add remaining 4 1/2 cups stock and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat, cover and keep at a bare simmer.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter with remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a 4-quart saucepan over moderate heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened,a bout 3 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup stock and cook at a strong simmer, stirring constantly, until stock is absorbed. Continue adding stock, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and letting each addition be absorbed before adding next, until rie is tender and creamy-looking but still al dente, 18 to 20 minutes (there will be leftover stock).
Stir in mushrooms, remaining 2 tablespoons butter, cheese, salt and pepper. If necessary, thin risotto with some of remaining stock. Serve immediatel, with additional cheese.