Simple Sundays | Champagne & Mushroom Risotto

The house is still and I just poured my cup of coffee. Two small spoons of sugar, a drizzle of half & half, and I swirl. The morning silence is so thick, you would think I awoke at dawn, but it is already past eight,…

Simple Sundays | Champagne & Mushroom Risotto

The house is still and I just poured my cup of coffee. Two small spoons of sugar, a drizzle of half & half, and I swirl. The morning silence is so thick, you would think I awoke at dawn, but it is already past eight, and my family is still tucked in their beds. Even the dog is sleeping in — I can hear his deep snores through the ceiling above me.

I love these rare mornings, when the house is mine and my mind free to reflect. This morning, all I can think of is…

Justin Bieber.

Wait! Before you click away, let me assure you, this post is not about Bieber Fever or my daughter’s crush on the boy and his hair. (I am happy to report there is no crush on boys, Bieber or otherwise. Yet.) But my friend Justin is wise in his young age, I will admit. He learned at a young age something that I did not until my mid-twenties.

Never say never.

As each year passes, and the champagne bottles are chilled, I pause to reflect. What were the surprises of 2011? There’s always something. In my chats with one of my dearest friends, we have always reminded one another: never say never. Did I ever think I would live in California? Never. Yet here I am, and it has been over 11 years. Did I ever think I would write a food blog? Never, yet 2012 marks the start of Kitchen Confidante’s third year. Did I ever think I would experience so much satisfaction from it? Never.

Thank you to each and every one of you who stop by and share in my stories each week. This New Year, I can’t help but reflect on all of you who make this worthwhile. Your comments, your notes, and your pictures when you cook a dish – they brighten my days. They really do!

Never say never.

As we cross the threshold into 2012, I also can’t help but feel anticipation and excitement over inevitable changes that may come our way. We never know what the future holds; we can only hope that we adapt to them.

I hope you were able to ring in the New Year with the ones you love. If, by chance, you find yourself with a little extra bubbly from the evening’s celebrations, I have a perfect way to use the last drops of fizz. Champagne & Mushroom Risotto is a wonderful way to soak up any extra sparkling wine, even if the sparkle is long gone. It’s all about adaptation, isn’t it?

Happy New Year, everyone :)

FTC – The folks at FungusAmongUs had sent me some samples of their dried mushrooms a few months back, and I found that their Natural Dried Wood Ear Mushrooms (pictured above) worked so nicely in the Champagne & Mushroom Risotto. The broth that you are left with after soaking the mushrooms is so flavorful and really adds dimension to the dish. I am not affiliated with FungusAmongUs nor was I compensated for including their product in my post. I am just sharing what I truly believe you will also enjoy! All opinions are, as always, my own.

Champagne & Mushroom Risotto

4-6 servings

What a wonderful way to use leftover bubbly! Don't worry if the sparkling wine is already flat, it will still work. A good, dry white wine may also be used.


1 oz dried wood ear mushrooms
8 oz assorted fresh mushrooms, thickly sliced
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 shallots, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups Arborio rice (Italian risotto rice)
8 oz sparkling wine
5-6 cups chicken stock, kept warm
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
flat leaf parsley, for garnish


In a small bowl, cover the the dried wood ear mushrooms with boiling water and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Drain the mushrooms with a sieve and reserve the liquid.  Set both aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of butter with the olive oil in a deep sided saute pan over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and cook for about two minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the fresh mushrooms and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the rehydrated wood ear mushrooms and stir. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Stir in the rice and let the oils coat the grains. Stir in the sparkling wine and let it cook until the wine is absorbed. Stir in the reserved mushroom liquid and let it cook down. Proceed to stir in the chicken stock, one cup at a time, letting the rice absorb the liquid between additions. Continue until the risotto is creamy and soft, about 30 minutes. You may or may not need to use all the chicken stock. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Take the risotto off the heat and stir in the remaining butter. Serve hot, garnished with chopped parsley.

Lightly adapted from Wild Mushroom and Champagne Risotto, Fabulous Fizz by Alice King.


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  1. Jennie

    Risotto looks yummy! I gotta make one for new years.. :))) Never tried with champagne but the photos are just so tempting! Thanks for the idea

  2. Mindy

    I made this risotto and posted it with a link to your recipe. Amazingly good. I talked it up so much, my sister is making it tomorrow night for company. Yum, yum.
    And today’s short ribs? Oh lordy – those are goin’ on the short list. Can’t wait.

    • Liren

      Hi Mindy, I am so glad that you loved the risotto, and I do hope your sister enjoys it, too! Thank you so much for posting it on your site – your dinner looked delish :) And yes, oh yes, DO make the short ribs. You (and the bun in the oven) will love it, too. Have a great weekend!

  3. Lacy

    Oh yum, love the idea of champagne in place of the wine! This looks delicious, you’ve even used a mushroom that I have tried, I’m going to keep my eye out for them. Great post…Happy New Year!

  4. Cristina

    Happy New Year’s to you and your beautiful family, Liren. Here’s to a fantastic year for 2012!

    What a delicious and elegant dish to look forward to when celebrating with bubbly and using its leftovers (or opening a bottle just for this beautiful risotto!). Wow, your risotto’s texture looks perfect. I would have this risotto as a complete meal! I’m still having challenges getting the texture consistent in outcome with regards to risotto.

    That is an upscale magazine-image perfection, Liren – gorgeous photography!

  5. Patty

    Beautiful post Liren! I love your idea for using up any remaining Champagne, after a big celebration! We didn’t have any left over this year as we had a house full and finished off a couple of bottles but I will definitely keep this idea in mind next time I make risotto. Loved reading about your quiet morning, it’s wonderful to enjoy peace and quiet in your own cozy home;-)

  6. Kathryn @ Dramatic Pancake

    Beautiful, inspiring post as always…as much as I hate to admit it, the Biebster was onto something with that song, wasn’t he? ;) This risotto is stunning, and I love the champagne twist. Cheers to 2012!

  7. Anna

    Lovely and heartwarming post you have here…Just what I needed to read to start off my 2012. Never say never!
    I do not have a good relationship with Risotto. My kitchen Risotto-disasters are too many to count, I call them bad luck at times, other times I call them unskillfulness, but now I am calling them, lessons of the past. I am ready to reunite with this ingredient I would love to have a pleasant relationship with…I am googling some tips on how to cook risotto best, that and this recipe, I am bound to have a successful first for the year risotto-dish. Thanks again for the post! Have a great 2012! keep postin’….;)

  8. lea davenport

    What a beautiful writing! It warmed my heart and cheered me up.

  9. Lisa { AuthenticSuburbanGourmet }

    Happy, Happy New Year Liren! Love, love your photos and the risotto looks simply divine. Adding Champagne is such a wonderful idea versus regular dry white wine. Hope you and hubby had a wonderful new years eve and a relaxing new years day!!!

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