1 cup dried morels (1 ounce) or 1/2 pound fresh morels, lightly rinsed
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper
10 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cups Italian rice for risotto, preferably carnaroli
2 teaspoons coarsely chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
2 cups fresh or thawed frozen peas
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
7 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
In a heatproof bowl, cover the dried morels with boiling water and soak until softened, about 20 minutes. Rub the morels to loosen any grit, then lift them out; discard the soaking liquid.
In a medium skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over moderate heat. Add the fresh or soaked morels, season with salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes.
In a large saucepan, bring the stock to a simmer; keep warm over low heat. In another large saucepan, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter over moderate heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 8 minutes. Stir in the rice until the grains are evenly coated with fat, then add the thyme, sage and wine and cook, stirring, until the wine is absorbed, about 2 minutes longer.
Add 1 cup of the hot stock to the rice and stir over moderately high heat until it has been absorbed, about 3 minutes. Continue to cook the risotto, adding 1 cup of stock at a time and stirring constantly until it is absorbed before adding more. Stir in the morels and peas. The risotto is done when it is creamy and porridgelike and the rice is al dente, about 30 minutes total. Remove the risotto from the heat. Stir in the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and season with salt and pepper. Top with the goat cheese just before serving.
The earthy morels and nutty and tangy cheeses in the risotto find echoes in a fruity Chardonnay from California.