This classic dish uses mushrooms three ways—in stock, puréed, and sautéed—to express their earthy-umami flavors in a creamy, cheesy, vegetarian risotto. Minneapolis chef Gavin Kaysen likes to cook with several kinds of mushrooms, but you can use your favorites or whatever is local!
Mushroom Garnish: While stock is simmering, mince the shallot and garlic. (Note: Chef Kaysen minces a whole shallot, but uses only half.) Set aside. Prepare chanterelles by tearing them into smaller pieces, like string cheese. If the chanterelles are very dirty, rinse in a bowl of water and gently wring through a clean dish towel to remove the absorbed water. Set aside. Slice the creminis and set aside. Pluck the tops of the maitakes from the base and set tops aside; add bases to stock (optional). Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil and as many mushrooms as can fit in one layer. Sauté until mushrooms have just begun to caramelize, 1–2 minutes. Add a pinch of salt, remaining tablespoon of oil, and the butter. Stir and sauté another 1–2 minutes. Add shallots and garlic; stir and sauté for 1–2 minutes. Pull thyme leaves from the stem, roughly chop, and add to mushrooms. Turn off the heat and set the skillet aside.
Risotto: Peel and trim the onion. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat; then add onions and a pinch of salt. Stir and cook until onions are translucent, 3–5 minutes. Add rice and stir constantly, until the grains are translucent around the edges, 3–5 minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid is absorbed into the rice. Reduce heat to medium. Add the Mushroom Stock 1 cup at a time, stirring continually after each addition until the rice has absorbed almost all of the liquid before adding the next cup. This should take about 20 minutes total. (Make sure no grains are sticking to the sides of the pot.)
When the rice has absorbed most of the liquid and has thickened, add ½ cup of the reserved Mushroom Purée and a pinch of salt; stir to combine. (Remaining purée can be frozen for up to 2 months.) Stir in Parmigiano and Pecorino, then turn off heat. Add mascarpone; add more Parmigiano and salt to taste. Stir until combined and creamy.Divide the risotto into 6 serving bowls. Evenly divide warm Mushroom Garnish on top of each. Garnish with a final dusting of grated Parmigiano and serve immediately.
Mushroom Stock And Puree
Set a medium pot over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Clean mushrooms by gently wiping away the dirt with a clean towel. Set aside. Smash and mince the garlic. To the pot, add the minced shallot, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Stir and sweat until translucent, 5 minutes. Meanwhile, roughly chop the mushrooms and add to the pot along with the thyme leaves. Turn heat to high, add the Madeira, and stir to deglaze the pan; continue cooking until the liquid has mostly evaporated (called au sec in French), 5 minutes. Add the water, bring to a simmer, and cook over low heat, uncovered, 30-45 minutes.
Part 2: After 30-45 minutes, taste the stock and add salt to taste. Pour the stock through a fine-mesh strainer into a large container; add warm water until you have 8 cups of liquid. Set Mushroom Stock aside. In a blender or food processor, puree the solids from the stock )adding a bit of stock as needed). Season to taste with salt and set aside.