This Champagne risotto with wild mushrooms is the perfect comfort food for fall. The layering of savory flavors with the heartiness of the rice, the earthiness of the mushrooms, and the creaminess of the brie is simply delicious. Scroll through to learn more about this dish, or hit the “jump to recipe” button above if you’re ready to start cooking.
Can I Use Champagne Instead Of Wine For Risotto?
Typically, risotto is made using a dry white wine. We decided to fancy it up a bit by using champagne. Champagne technically is wine, after all. So, yes, you absolutely can use Champagne, or any sparkling wine for that matter, to make risotto. Prosecco and Cava both work great too.
Perusing through the sparkling wine labels at my local grocer, I paused a moment and thought, “Do I really want to heat up and ruin some perfectly good bubbly?” Heavens no!” So, since I was planning on cooking with it, I grabbed a bottle of the cheaper stuff. This provided some funny surprises. Such as a screw top plastic cork with a “don’t poke you’re eye out” warning. But if you plan on sipping while cooking, go for a bottle of the good stuff.
Back in 2010 when my blog was still relatively new, Marx Foods invited me to participate in a Mushroom Recipe Contest. Each blogger that participated received samples of a couple of different types of mushrooms to experiment with and create an original recipe. Upon receiving my package, I called up my good friend, Chef Jim with the Mount Dora Historic Inn, for some ideas. Since it was Fall, I wanted to make some comfort food. The result of our phone conversation … Champagne Risotto with Wild Mushrooms.
Wild Mushrooms vs Regular Mushrooms
It is one of Marx Food’s pet peeves when restaurants label a dish as containing “wild mushrooms” when they really are only using cultivated varieties such as portobello, shiitakes, etc. The mushrooms we used in the original recipe are indeed wild, hand-foraged from the forests of the Pacific Northwest. I do love foraged mushrooms since they’re hand picked like a treasure hunt. This quote from the Marx Food blog captures the essence of wild foods, “experience nature and the seasons through fine food.”
But, I’ve made this recipe using all kinds of different mushrooms including porcini, portobello, and wild black trumpet mushrooms. All turned out fabulous, so feel free to use whatever is local to you and in season.
Ingredients You’ll Need
Here’s a list of ingredients you’ll need to gather from your pantry or pick up at the store to make this Champagne risotto recipe.
- chicken stock
- Champagne or sparkling wine
- brie (without the rind)
- dried wild mushrooms
- olive oil
- white onion
- Italian seasoning
- truffle salt
- short grain rice (Arborio is best)
First, let’s talk about risotto. It’s not a type of rice, but rather an Italian method of slowly cooking rice by adding flavorful liquids (such as broth and wine) just a little it at a time. The Italians pretty much perfected the art of slow food, and this recipe takes some time. But it’s worth it.
Now, about the rice. Short grain rice works best since it will absorb all the liquids and flavors while having a more creamy or sticky texture. But you don’t need to buy a special “risotto” labeled rice. Just look for “short grain” on the label. Arborio rice is great.
How To Make Champagne Risotto
Start by adding the champagne to a small sauce pot and setting the heat to low/medium. Pour slowly so it doesn’t erupt like Mount Vesuvius.
The champagne will look like it’s boiling … don’t freak out … it is champagne. It’s supposed to bubble. As it heats you’ll notice less bubbles. I just didn’t want you to be afraid of dipping your ladle into somthing bubbly.
Next, fill a deep skillet with about 2 cups of chicken stock and 8 oz of brie (without the rind). Set the heat to medium and stir the brie to help it melt into the broth (about 10 to 15 minutes). You want it to be warm, not boiling.
On their blog, Marx Foods shows an example of how to reconstitute dried mushrooms in a bowl with boiling water. For this recipe, reconstitute the dried mushrooms in the broth to add flavor to the stock. Let them soak for about 20 minutes or until tender.
Meanwhile, start a savory saute in a separate skillet. Starting with the onions, garlic, a sprinkle of truffle salt to bring out the flavors, and a dash or two (or three) of Italian seasoning.
Sauté until the onions are translucent and starting to caramelize.
While the onions are sauteing, check the consistency of your mushrooms.
Remove them from the broth using a slotted spoon or a skimmer
Chop the mushrooms in 1/4 inch pieces and set aside in a bowl. When the onions have turned clear and started to brown, add them to a bowl with the mushrooms and set aside.
Using the same skillet as you did for the onions, add a dribble more of olive oil and then toast the rice.
Stir the rice for about a minute or two until it is coated in olive oil and is clear or opaque.
Now you’re ready to start adding the liquids, starting with the champagne. It should be warm, but not boiling. Use a ladle or measuring cup and add one cup of champagne to the rice.
Stir until the rice has completely absorbed all the champagne.
Then add one cup of the chicken broth with melted brie and mushroom stock.
Stir until the broth is completely absorbed. Then add another cup of champagne. Keep repeating this process until you have used all of the broth and most of the champagne.
Yes, you do in fact have not one, not two, but three pans working all at the same time. You might think to yourself that there is an easier or quicker way to make rice. Not the Italian way. They like it slow and savory. And the texture and flavor of Champagne risotto is SO worth it.
After the rice has absorbed all the liquid (about a 20 minute process), add the onions and mushrooms and stir together.
And there you have it. Champagne risotto with wild mushrooms and brie. Enjoy!
Champagne Risotto with Wild Mushrooms
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 3 cups Champagne (or sparkling wine)
- 8 oz brie (without the rind)
- 2 oz dried wild mushrooms
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium white onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon truffle salt
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 cups short grain rice (Arborio is best)
- Add champagne to a medium saucepan and bring to a low/medium heat.
- In a deep skillet, add chicken stock, brie and dried mushrooms. Let simmer at medium heat until the brie is completely melted. Allow the mushrooms to reconstitute (about 15 to 20 minutes) then remove mushrooms with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a non-stick skillet and add garlic, onions, spices, and a pinch of truffle salt. Sauté until onions are clear and starting to brown. Remove onions from pan and set aside in a bowl.
- Add remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the same skillet used to cook the onions and then add the rice. Toast the rice until it is well coated in oil appears almost clear in color.
- With a ladle or measuring cup, add one cup of warm chicken stock mixture, pour into rice and stir until absorbed.
- Then, using a cup or ladle add one cup warm champagne to rice and stir until absorbed. Make sure the rice has absorbed all liquid before adding more.
- Repeat steps 5 and 6, adding liquid and stirring until all of chicken stock is gone. This slow cooking process keeps the grains from splitting so the rice is creamy, not mushy.
- Transfer the mushrooms and onions to the rice mixture and stir together. Sprinkle on remaining truffle salt. Serve fresh grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese on the side.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 428Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 52mgSodium: 488mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 12g
Nutrition information provided is only an estimate.
More Recipes You’ll Love!
- Creamy Polenta with Sautéed Mushrooms
- Pasta with Bolognese Sauce
- Pumpkin Risotto
- Breakfast Baked Portobello Mushrooms
- Cavatappi with Sautéed Tomatoes
- Polenta Cakes
Originally posted in 2010. Updated in 2021.