«In Italian, we use the phrase “donna in carriera”, which means “career woman”. That was me when I moved from Rome to the Upper West Side, 20-something years ago. I didn’t know how to cook anything. When my mother would come from Italy to visit she always prepared risotto ai funghi porcini. For me, this rice was precious and delicious, a magical and complex dish that only my mother could make; I did not ask questions, it was too sacred. I have a very dear memory of her coming out of the kitchen, giant plate of rice in hand with the bright green parsley catching the light. My friends in New York came to refer to this dish as “your mother’s rice”; they all expected an invitation for dinner whenever she was in town. Eventually I was able to work up the courage to replicate it; it is really not that complicated!»
Approximately 3 1/2 cups homemade chicken stock
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 medium size, medium-chopped onion
2 cups of Carnaroli Rice
1/2 cup cognac or wine
Approximately 2 ounces of Dried Porcini Mushrooms
1/2 cup freshly grated Vacche Rosse Cheese (plus more to add on your plate)
1. Prepare a simple chicken stock by simmering a chicken with vegetables. Leave the chicken stock simmering on the stove.
2. Submerge and soak the dried porcini mushrooms in a bowl of water for about 30 minutes.
3. In a large pot, sauté the chopped onion until it is transparent but not browned. Add all the rice to the pot, stirring with a wooden spoon until the rice is well-toasted. After the rice is toasted add the cognac. Attenzione! Be prepared for an intense reaction as the cognac evaporates.
4. After the cognac has evaporated, slowly ladle in 1 spoonful of hot-boiling chicken stock. Continue to stir with the wooden spoon. Continue in this way, adding 1 ladle of chicken stock and stirring until the liquid has been absorbed. Don’t stop stirring! When the rice is about halfway cooked, drain the porcini mushrooms and add them to the rice.
5. Add sea salt to taste. You know the rice is done when it is cooked, but still al dente. While there is still some liquid in the pot, turn off the flame, add the Vacche Rosse Cheese, stir and close the pot with the lid for 2 minutes. Stir in the parsley and serve.