Champagne & Mushroom Risotto
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
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.