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Seared Porcini Risotto from my Italian kitchen

It is lovely to be back in Italy, especially since it finally stopped raining. Rosetta gave me some hand-pressed olive oil and locally grown Carnaroli rice. The thyme plant in the garden is thriving, so I made a delicious risotto.

Seared Porcini Risotto

Seared Porcini Risotto

  • 1 cup fresh porcini mushrooms, cubed
  • 2 onions, finely chopped (already growing so I used the bulb and the sprouts)
  • puddle olive oil
  • 300 grams Carnaroli or Arborio rice
  • dry white wine
  • boiling water
  • bullion cube
  • pinch saffron
  • 50 grams dried porcini soaked in boiling water for 5 min., chopped
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • teaspoon hot sauce or red pepper flakes (totally not traditional but we love it)
  • 60 grams creamy cheese like Brie or 50dl heavy cream
  • grated Parmiggiano Reggiano or other hard cheese

Heat the oil till sizzling then drop in the fresh porcini. Toss and sear till golden and crusty on most sides. Lower the heat, add the onion and cook till golden. Add the rice and stir for 2-3 minutes till all grains are coated with oil and slightly toasted.  Add dry wine to taste 1-2 cups. Scrape up all the brown crusties on the bottom of the pan as the rice absorbs the wine.

REMEMBER THAT A RISOTTO SHOULD BE “AL ONDA” ALL THE TIME. That means that the liquid level should be just above the rice in the pan (at the wave). As the pan simmers and the liquid is absorbed, keep adding boiling water to keep the liquid level at the right point. After the wine is absorbed add the bullion cube,  the reconstituted dried mushrooms, the soaking liquid and the saffron. Cook for a total of 20 minutes until the rice is cooked, but still al dente (there should be a faint white line when you bite it).

Turn off the heat. Add the grated cheese, the creamy cheese (or cream) and thyme. Stir and cover to mantecare (read the book to find out what that is).

After five minutes, garnish with more thyme and serve with more grated cheese. Squisito!

Seared Porcini Risotto

Seared Porcini Risotto in my Italian kitchen

Monday morning- you’ve got to start the week right. I made these delicious blueberry, orange marmalade pancakes for breakfast. I’m home alone so I froze the extras to have other mornings. Makes four large pancakes.

heaping 1/2 cup all purpose flour and heaping 1/2 cup corn flour

stir together in small bowl with 1/4 tsp. salt and heaping tsp. baking powder

brown 2 tablespoons butter on griddle

make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and beat one egg in the center

add 1/4 orange marmalade, 1 tsp. vanilla extract,  and 3/4 cup buttermilk and stir wet in the middle of dry.

Using as few strokes as possible (overmixing is the death of pancakes) stir wet into dry till most of the flour is wet. Heat griddle. Cover top of batter (which will be very dense and not pourable) with frozen blueberries. When griddle is hot, scoop up batter and blueberries and make four equal mounds on griddle. Cook till bottom is nicely browned and bubbles are popping on top of pancakes. Flip and cook other side. Serve with maple syrup and yoghurt.

April 24- roasted cauliflower pasta with hot sauce, anchovies, tamarind and cilantro. This dish is so intensely flavored that I never make it for guests because I am afraid they won’t like it. It is one of my favorites though…squisito!

Yesterday I made really fantastic grape bread. I was trying to imitate the bread I used to get from the bakery in Piazza Cadorna when I went into Milan really early in the morning. It is basically a mound of grapes barely held together by crunchy sugary dough. I’ve had it for breakfast and lunch for two days now so I gave the rest to Mary.

Today I found dried chanterelles and hen of the woods at the market. I made a green onion, garlic base then added the mushrooms soaked in wine and vegetable stock. I added a roux and let it thicken while I cooked cavatappi – then mixed it all together. Macedonia with the first strawberries for fruit!


  1. Elena, we remember your cooking in our kitchen so well!
    I repeat some of your recipes with great pleasure and imagine the real italian cooking…
    I like to get your book. Possible to send it from Italy instead of the States?

    I love the blog and the site(s). Great work.


    • Iris, I will bring some to Italy and mail you one from there. I hope all is well. Elena

  2. Risotto recipe looks delicious! Miss you at UW-W already! Tricia

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