People swoon over black truffles. I swoon over black trumpet mushrooms!
1. Heat a large sauté pan over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and then the rehydrated mushrooms. Sauté the mushrooms until they are tender and the pan is almost dry, about 3 minutes. Add the shallots, garlic and thyme and stir well. Cook until soft and golden. Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste. Reserve them at room temperature until ready to be used or, if you prepare them in advance, cover and store them in the refrigerator.
2. Bring the mushroom liquid plus stock or water to a boil in a medium pot and reduce to a bare simmer.
3. Heat a large heavy bottomed saucepan over medium high heat, add the butter and cook until it is lightly browned and bubbling. Add the diced onion and sauté until it is translucent and golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with 1 teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
4. Add the rice and stir until it is thoroughly heated and starting to toast. Add the mushrooms and stir well. Add the wine and bring to a boil while stirring constantly. Stir until the wine is completely absorbed by the rice. Set the timer for 18 minutes.
5. Using a 6-ounce ladle, add the simmering stock into the rice one ladle at a time, stir the rice constantly while adding the stock. Add more stock as the rice absorbs the liquid. When the timer goes off taste the risotto for texture. I prefer my risotto chewy with a little tooth so I cook it a little less. The grains should be silky and slide easily over one another when a spoon is drawn through. If this is not the case, add a little more stock to loosen them up. The rice should have enough liquid so that the texture is creamy. If the rice is not cooked enough the texture will be starchy and crunchy. If the rice is overcooked the grains will be bloated and stick together. Add more liquid until it reaches the texture you desire.
6. Stir in the parmesan and chopped Italian parsley immediately before serving. Serve with additional Parmesan on the side. The rice should be served soon after it has finished cooking otherwise it will continue to cook and become overcooked and clumped together.
Note: To reconstitute, cover dried mushrooms with 6 cups boiling water and let them soak for 30 minutes. Be sure to lift them out of the water after they are re-hydrated to prevent contamination by any dirt that has fallen to the bottom. Pour the soaking water off the dirt that has settled to the bottom then through a fine cheesecloth and reserve. Trim the rough bottoms of the mushrooms off and pull the mushrooms part to expose any dirty collected inside their trumpet shape. Repeat the soaking process until there is no more dirt at the bottom of the bowl. Usually 2 more times. Combine the strained rehydrating liquid in a medium pan and reduce by half. Save the liquid to make the risotto. Extra liquid can be frozen for later use and is delicious added to chicken stock and soups as it is loaded with umami flavor. Cut the larger mushrooms into bite-sized pieces, smaller mushrooms may be left whole. The mushroom ragout can be made a day or two ahead of time and refrigerated. To use fresh mushrooms, substitute 8 ounces of fresh for each ounce of dried.