Mushroom Risotto with Cracked Black Pepper

Mushroom Risotto with Cracked Black Pepper

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Pepper has got to be the most under-appreciated spice in existence. Even though (or perhaps because) we put it into just about everything we barely give it a thought. At least I didn’t – not until we tossed our pepper shaker and replaced it with a pepper mill a few years ago. That’s when I realized how flavorful and complex a piece of freshly cracked black pepper really is. It’s slightly sharp, citrusy, earthy and clove-y and all those flavors are missing completely from pre-ground pepper.

So if you haven’t yet, get yourself a pepper mill! Then, I suggest you make this creamy, flavorful mushrooms risotto and grind some fresh black pepper over it. Enjoy!


Mushroom Risotto with Cracked Black Pepper Recipe

serves 4


  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups sliced oyster mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup brown beech mushrooms
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (more if desired)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves



  1. Bring broth to a boil, then turn down the heat to keep the broth at a consistent simmer and put on a lid.
  2. Melt the butter in a Dutch oven.
  3. Saute the mushrooms on medium heat for about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the onion and cook until translucent (about another 3 minutes).
  5. Add the rice and stir to get it well coated with the butter.
  6. Continuing on medium heat, add the wine and stir continuously until almost all of it is absorbed.
  7. Add 1/2 cup of the hot broth and continue to stir until almost all the liquid is absorbed.
  8. Add another 1/2 cup of broth, and repeat step 7.
  9. Continue to add hot broth in this fashion until the rice is soft but still a little al dente. (About 20 minutes starting from the initial addition of broth). If you like a stronger white wine flavor and acidity, heat up half a cup of white wine in the microwave and use it instead of broth in one of the additions.
  10. Take the risotto off the heat and fold in the parmesan.
  11. Distribute the risotto into bowls and crack some fresh black pepper over it.
  12. Sprinkle the thyme leaves over the risotto and serve immediately.



  1. Huy @ Hungry Huy says:

    I love mushrooms a LOT, so it’s kinda embarrassing not to know what a beech mushroom is (quickly googling it).

    But yea getting a pepper mill was eye-opening for me. I grew up with the pre-ground stuff. Some of them can have punch, but it tastes entirely different.

    Great photo too! Btw, how did you get that perfect wave on the burlap? I’ll understand if you can’t share though :)

    • Nicole B. says:

      Not embarrassing at all! I had never heard of beech mushrooms either until they started popping up in our grocery stores here a little while ago. I initially only bought them because they looked so cute but they are very tasty too. The burlap is a piece from a burlap roll (I think it’s also called burlap ribbon) and has small metal wires on both sides that are easy to bend into waves. It’s a nice, versatile prop. :-)

  2. Maggie says:

    I really really love mushroom risotto and I have cooked it with all kinds of mushrooms. If you could ever find dried porcini mushrooms, I really suggest you to make the risotto with them. It’s not super expensive because you don’t need too much of them, and the flavor is just so concentrated and taste great.

    • Nicole B. says:

      If you say they’re good I’ll give them a try. The only dried mushrooms I’ve had so far were chanterelles and shiitake and I thought they both had a very bitter aftertaste. (Love them fresh though! :))

      • Maggie says:

        hmmm, I never tried dried chanterelles, but dried shiitake supposed to be tasty. Did you rehydrate them and washed thoroughly? I admit dried shiitake has a very strong smell, so most of time I only use it for stew and the spices might covered up the bitterness.

        • Nicole B. says:

          I did rehydrate and wash them but it’s possible I didn’t do it long enough or something. I also tend to be really, really sensitive to bitterness (can’t stand extra virgin olive oil, for example, it’s way too bitter for me).

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