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Wild Mushroom & Goat Cheese Risotto

The end of summer means all sorts of things: we need to start wearing socks again, 7 am is the new 10 am for breakfast, school and sport schedules begin to rear their ugly heads and wild mushrooms start to make their annual appearance in forests and fields around Bayfield. Quite a bit of rain and a colder than normal summer had a silver lining this year, it was a veritable wild mushroom bonanza....too bad matching socks weren't a by-product of our chilly summer, that would have been epic.

I'm a cautious mushroom forager and rely on more experienced foragers to show me the ropes or deliver the goods. I can identify morels and chanterelles without much difficulty but the million other types of mushrooms give me pause— I mean, one false move, or mushroom, and there could be a massive calamity. So, when Kathy showed up with a bag of King Boletes, Hedgehogs and Black Trumpets, I knew I was in seriously good shape....and a really lucky girl. When I asked her how she found them, she said, very matter-of-factly, "you slow down and look around". Good advice for lots of things, if you ask me, and not just for mushroom hunting.

Wild Mushroom and Goat Cheese Risotto

9 tablespoons butter, divided
2 cups Superfino Arborio rice
8 cups chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium
2 cups dry white wine, divided
8 ounces Sassy Nanny Lake Effect goat cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan, shredded
3 cups mixed wild mushrooms (I used King Bolete, Black Trumpet and Hedgehogs)
1 large shallot, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 elephant garlic cloves, sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse black pepper
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

Preparation
Clean and slice your mushrooms. If you are using wild, freshly foraged mushrooms, clean them thoroughly as I've found bits and pieces of the forest floor and little insects hiding in the mushrooms. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, sliced elephant garlic cloves and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1 teaspoon of black pepper. Sauté mushrooms and garlic until tender  5 to 7 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of white wine and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Taste for seasonings and transfer to a bowl and keep warm until the risotto is finished.

Bring 8 cups chicken broth to simmer in medium saucepan; keep warm. Melt remaining 5 tablespoons butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add chopped shallot, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper, and sauté until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add rice and increase heat to medium. Stir until edges of rice begin to look translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add remaining white wine and stir until liquid is absorbed, about 3 minutes. Add 1 cup warm chicken broth; stir until almost all broth is absorbed, about 3 - 5 minutes. Continue adding broth, a cup at a time, stirring until almost all broth is absorbed before adding more, until rice is tender but still firm to bite and risotto is creamy, about 30 - 40 minutes. Add the goat cheese and grated Parmesan cheese and stir until thoroughly combined. Taste for seasonings. Transfer risotto to a bowl and top with sautéed mushrooms. Serve immediately.