Here is a risotto that doesn't demand you spend 30 minutes stirring a hot pot. We start with an earthy broth made with dried mushrooms, then add fresh mushrooms and Arborio rice. One stir and, minutes later, you'll have the easiest, creamiest risotto imaginable.
Total: 40 min
Prep: 5 min
Inactive: 10 min
Cook: 25 min
Yield:4 appetizer servings or 2 main-dish servings
Stir together the dried porcini and 1 cup of the chicken broth in a microwave-safe 2-cup or larger measuring cup. Microwave, uncovered, on high (at 100 percent power) until the broth is hot but not boiling, 1 1/2 minutes in an 1,100-watt oven or 2 1/2 minutes in a 700-watt oven. Let sit for 5 minutes. Remove the porcini pieces from the liquid with a slotted spoon, squeezing out excess moisture in the process. Chop the porcini coarsely. Reserve the chopped porcini and the porcini broth separately.
Place the shallots, garlic, cremini and shiitake mushrooms, 2 tablespoons of the butter and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a microwave-safe 8-by-8-by-2-inch baking dish. Cover tightly with 2 pieces of plastic wrap; make a small slit in the center with the tip of a paring knife to vent excess steam. Microwave on high (at 100 percent power) until all the vegetables have softened, 5 minutes in an 1,100-watt oven or 9 minutes in a 700-watt oven. (When removing the plastic, be careful to avoid the hot steam.) If some of the vegetables still seem a little raw, stir and microwave again, covered, in 30-second increments.
Add the rice to the baking dish, and stir to coat the grains. Add the white wine, 1 1/2 cups of the remaining chicken broth, reserved porcini broth (leaving the sediment at the bottom of the cup) and chopped porcini, thyme and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover and microwave on high (at 100 percent power) for 8 minutes in an 1,100-watt oven or 10 minutes in a 700-watt oven. Stir the risotto, and add the remaining 1 cup chicken broth. Cover and microwave on high (at 100 percent power) until the rice is cooked but with the faintest bite in the center, 9 minutes in an 1,100-watt oven or 15 minutes in a 700-watt oven. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, Parmesan and parsley, and stir vigorously until creamy. At this stage, the risotto should be thick but pourable from a spoon; if it's too stiff, splash in more broth. Let sit, covered, for 2 minutes to rest and come together. Serve with a sprinkling of grated Parmesan on top.
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