1/3 cup good quality red wine (Plantagenet of course! Don’t cook with anything you’re not prepared to drink)
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2-3 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
1 cup chopped mushrooms (fresh or re-hydrated porcini mushrooms are best)
2-3 tablespoons salted butter
2 tablespoons grated Romano cheese
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley for garnish
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano to serve
In a large stock pot, heat the stock and herbs. Keep simmering throughout preparation of the dish.
Next, over medium heat in a large pan, heat the olive oil. Add shallots or onions. Stir to coat for 1-2 minutes.
Add Arborio rice. Stir to coat rice really well, but do not brown. (The purpose in coating the rice with olive oil is to help control the absorption of the cooking stock) If the onions seem to have used up most of the oil, add more.
Once coated, add the red wine and balsamic vinegar, and allow most of it to be absorbed.
Add the mushrooms, stir in briefly, but do not allow the pan to completely dry up.
Add enough stock to cover the rice completely and lower the heat to low. As the liquid level drops below the rice slightly, add back enough stock to re-cover. Stir the rice occasionally so that it does not stick and so it cooks evenly. (Don't transfer the thyme from the stock to the risotto)
Continue this process for about 20 more minutes. Taste the rice at this point to see if it is almost tender. If so, allow the present liquid level to drop until about 90 per cent absorbed. Stir in the butter and Romano cheese vigorously, then turn off the heat. The butter and cheese will provide that elegant "creaminess" that good risotto is noted for.
Garnish your red wine risotto with fresh Italian Parsley and shaved slices of parmigiano-reggianno.