Start of Fall: Wild Mushroom Risotto

We are getting a taste of Autumn here this weekend in North Carolina and that always puts me in the mood to make some of my Fall favorites.  This easy to make risotto dish is great as a side with pork or beef dishes or alone as a meal in itself.  This dish has an earthy/smokey flavor.

4 Tbsps Olive Oil
1 small onion – diced
3 cloves garlic – minced
1/4 lb. smoked pork – diced (you can also use thick cut bacon if you can’t find smoked pork chops or loin)
1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper
(optional) 1/8 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
1/2 oz. dried black trumpet mushrooms (or other dried, wild favorites) – soaked until soft in 1/4 cup warm water – then roughly chop – Keep the water
3 cups beef broth
1 cup risotto (rinsed in a strainer until the water runs clear)
(*because of the smoked pork and the beef broth, you will most likely not need additional salt)

In a medium saucepan, sautee in olive oil – onion, garlic, pork and pepper until onions are translucent. Add mushrooms, mushroom water, beef broth and risotto. Bring to a boil and then lower to med-low. Keeping the lid off (do not cook like rice) continue to stir the risotto until the broth has absorbed into the Risotto – about 20 mins. Add more broth 2-3 Tablespoons at a time if mixture is getting too dry.  The trick with Risotto is to rinse it well before cooking and to keep stirring so it doesn’t become a gummy sticky mess.