Mushroom Risotto with Leeks, Fennel, and "Summer Truffles"

Mushroom Risotto with Leeks, Fennel, and “Summer Truffles”

Tomato-Mushroom Stock (see recipe below)
1 black truffle, grated
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lb white mushrooms, washed and sliced
salt and pepper
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tbs unsalted butter
1 medium-sized leek, white part only, cut in half lengthwise, thinly sliced, and washed
1 medium-sized fennel bulb, quartered lengthwise, cored, and thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tbs coarsely chopped Italian parsley
Grated Parmesan cheese

Pour the stock into a saucepan, bring it to a boil, and reduce it to 6 cups. Keep the stock warm over low heat.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet; add the white mushrooms, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a few pinches of pepper. Sauté over medium-high heat until the mushrooms are golden and crisp on the edges; add half the garlic. Sauté for another minute or two more and then transfer the mushrooms to a bowl.

Heat the butter and remaining oil in the pan and add the leeks, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a few pinches of pepper. Sauté over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, until the leeks are wilted. Add the fennel and remaining garlic; sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add the rice and sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Begin adding the stock a cup at a time, allowing the rice to absorb each cup of stock completely before adding more. Keep the pan on medium heat and continue to stir.

When the rice has absorbed 3 cups of the stock, add the sautéed mushrooms and wine. Continue to add the stock, stirring constantly, until you have used 5 cups. Add half of the grated truffle. As you stir in the last cup of stock, add 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few pinches of pepper. At this point the grains of rice will be a little toothy and the risotto quite saucy; it’s ready to serve. Stir in half of the parsley. Serve immediately in warm bowls. Sprinkle with the Parmesan, the remaining parsley, and the remaining grated truffle.

Serves 4-6, or two with some leftovers.

Tomato-Mushroom Stock for Risotto

2 quarts cold water
1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
1 leek top, chopped
1 oz dried shiitake mushrooms
8 garlic cloves, crushed with the side of a knife blade
1 tsp salt
2 medium-sized carrots
1 large unpeeled potato, chopped
1/4 lb white mushrooms, sliced
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 28-oz can tomatoes with juice
6 parsley springs, chopped
6 fresh thyme sprigs, chopped
3 fresh sage leaves, chopped
2 fresh marjoram or oregano sprigs, chopped
1/2 tsp peppercorns

Pour 1/2 cup water into a stockpot and add the onion, leek top, garlic, and salt. Give them a stire, then cover the pot and cook vegetables gently over medium heat for 15 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and cover with remaining water.

Bring the stock to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour. Pour the stock through a strainer, press as much liquid as you can from the vegetables, and discard them (I know, it’s sad, but that’s the way you make stock). Use immediately or cool and refrigerate or freeze. The stock will keep in the refrigerator for 2 days and indefinitely in the freezer.