Here are five ways chefs make mushroom risotto even more delicious.

By Kristin Donnelly
Updated June 12, 2019
© Fredrika Stjärne

This straightforward dish doesn’t have to be. Here, five ways chefs make mushroom risotto even more delicious.

1. Mix dried and fresh mushrooms
Chef Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park and The Nomad in New York City knows that dried mushrooms give you two ingredients in one: The mushroom itself plus its super flavorful soaking liquid. While expensive, dried porcini mushrooms go a long way, with a single ounce being enough to flavor a pot of risotto for four.

RELATED: Dried-Porcini-Mushroom Risotto with Goat Cheese

2. Make a crispy topping
Even when it’s great, the texture of risotto can be a bit monolithic. The way to combat this? Sprinkle crisp shards of pancetta on top, as French chef Frédéric Anton does.

3. Cook the mushrooms separately
Instead of cooking his red wine risotto with mushrooms, chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten makes a sweet and savory mushroom marmalade to swirl on top at the end.

4. Make it spicy
For a more complex-flavored risotto, former F&W Best New Chef Kevin Graham adds single-varietal chile powder, such as ancho.

5. Skip the rice
Yep, the main ingredient: it’s optional. For a chewier, fiber-rich take on risotto, be like Portland, Oregon, chef Naomi Pomeroy and replace the rice with barley.

Kristin Donnelly is a former Food & Wine editor and author of the forthcoming The Modern Potluck (Clarkson Potter, 2016). She is also the cofounder of Stewart & Claire, an all-natural line of lip balms made in Brooklyn.