Monday, June 11, 2012

Taste of Wine Country: Mushroom Risotto

Brian and I have been slowly working our way through the 10 bottles of wine we brought home from our trip to Wine Country back in November.

It’s hard because you want to drink it, but at the same time want a “special” occasion or event to break open some of these bottles.  But I also don’t want to “save” them forever!  I mean I still have the bottle of champagne my mom gave us for our engagement…yeah, you know, saving it for a special occasion!! 


We visited the Thomas George winery during our stay in Healdsburg.  We were out for the day, hiking/picnic, and the owners of our B&B gave us some recommendations for wineries to stop at on our way back.

One of these was the Thomas George Estates Winery in the Russian River Valley.  They had a very cool wine cave where they did tastings.



It was here that we bought our first bottle of the trip (and one of the more $$ ones we’ve ever bought…although at the same time I’d never tasted wine so good so it was ok ;)

Before we left, the guy who helped us that day said that this wine goes excellent with mushroom risotto!

We did not for get that piece of information, AND we were able to use one of our other purchases from that trip:


A bag of dried wild mushrooms we picked up in the Ferry Building in San Francisco.

Dried mushrooms are great because you can get a good variety and they keep for a long time!

You just need to remember that they need at least 30 min to re-hydrate


 Wild (Dried) Mushroom Risotto
(adapted from Ina Garten)

  • 1 oz dried wild mushrooms (or your favorite kind)
  • 2 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 3T butter
  • 2 oz pancetta, chopped
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Re-hydrate the mushrooms with the boiling water for 30 min or until soft.  Remove with a slotted spoon, then give mushrooms a rough chop.  Carefully pour the mushroom broth into a sauce pan, leaving just the last little bit in the pan with the debris from the mushrooms (or use a sieve).  Add the chicken broth to the mushroom broth and heat over med/low heat, just until steaming.


In a large heavy bottom pot or Dutch oven heat the butter over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and pancetta. Sauté for 4-5 minutes, then add mushrooms. Cook for another 5 minutes, then add rice. Cook for 2 more minutes, then add the wine and cook for 2 more minutes. Then add 2 ladles full of the hot broth mixture to the pan. Stir regularly until the broth has been mostly absorbed by the rice. Repeat this process of adding 2 ladles of broth, stirring until dissolved, until all the broth is used and rice is cooked but still has a little bite to it…al dente.


You have to keep regularly stirring but no need to go crazy.  This took me 35-40 min.  The mixture will be very creamy by the end. 


Finally, remove from heat and add the cheese. 

We served this with some steak, and a small piece of left over fish from the night before (a little surf and turf action)



And a little side salad


Of course the wine was incredible


Just as good as we remembered.  Now I’m just sad it’s gone!!!   

Now I just need to plan some more wine-centered dinners for those other bottles ;)

Does anyone else have this problem of “saving” the good stuff and then years go by???  I think we’ve done a decent job with our wines from the trip, but still have 5 to go! 


  1. yes i am totally guilty of saving things for...  never?  haha.  great meal to savor the wine!!

  2. FunandFearlessinBeantownJune 12, 2012 at 7:07 AM

    We definitely have bottles of champagne and truffle oil that have been "saved" for the same reason.

  3. That gorgeous dinner could make any night a special occasion! I definitely have that same problem... there are salts and spices and such from a trip to Hawaii several years ago still hanging around because I want to save them for something special.