Easy Wild Mushroom Risotto With Pine Mushrooms

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This Wild Mushroom Risotto recipe celebrates the unique flavours of pine mushrooms that start to appear as Autumn/Fall rolls in. While these prized fungi have a limited season, the beauty of this dish lies in its versatility. You can create this wonderfully creamy risotto with any type of fresh mushroom you can find, allowing you to enjoy its comforting flavours year-round.

Close up of a white bowl filled with pine mushroom risotto. The pine mushrooms have given the risotto a slight orange tinge.Pin

What Makes This Recipe So Good?

Beyond its deliciousness, this risotto offers a surprising amount of health benefits. Pine mushrooms (Lactarius deliciosus) are most commonly known as saffron milk caps and as with most other mushrooms – they are brimming with nutrients. Mushrooms are also well-known for their immune balancing and anti-inflammatory effects. Many, including the saffron milk caps, are also known for their antibacterial, antimicrobial, and anti-fungal properties. Additionally, all wild mushrooms tend to be higher in protein and are a wonderful source of antioxidants to boot.

A rattan basket is sitting on grass and has been filled with pine mushrooms (saffron milk caps). One brown slippery jack can also be seen.Pin

Ingredients – What You’ll Need To Make This Pine Mushroom Risotto

Pine mushrooms have increased in popularity the last few years however, you still won’t find them at a grocery store. Some green grocers may stock them or you may come across them at Farmer’s Markets. For the most part though, the best way to get your hands on them is to go foraging.

All the ingredients needed to make pine mushroom risotto have been laid out across a grey table in small bowls.Pin
  • Pine mushrooms / saffron milk caps – are highly sought after for their meaty texture, nutty flavour, and earthy aroma.
  • Arborio rice – with its high starch content, this is the ideal rice for making risotto. It’s what gives the dish its signature creaminess.
  • Chicken or vegetable stock – the other base ingredient in this risotto simply adding flavour.
  • Dry white wine – Sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio are perfect. These add acidity and a bright, fruity flavour to the risotto. They also help deglaze the pan and extract the flavours from the mushrooms.
  • Butter & olive oil – butter adds richness and creaminess, while olive oil adds a subtle, fruity flavour.
  • Baby spinach – provides colour while also increasing the veg content.
  • Onion – yellow onion (brown onion in Aus) gives this dish some added sweetness and depth of flavour.
  • Garlic cloves – adds a pungent, savoury taste.
  • Fresh Thyme – adds subtle earthy notes but if you’re not a fan any fresh herbs you like are fine.
  • Goat’s cheese – makes the risotto creamy and balances out other big, rich flavours.

The combination of pine mushrooms, oil and butter, garlic, wine, and thyme make this risotto especially luscious. That said, any kind of mushrooms will work in this recipe so it can be enjoyed any time of year. 

How To Make This Wild Mushroom Risotto

It’s not often you can say one of your meals starts with a forage in the pine forests. This one just might though! The earthy flavor of the mushrooms shines in this recipe and it’s a perfect combination with the starchiness and sweetness of the rice. A very comforting dish to enjoy as the weather starts to cool.

  1. Heat the stock in a saucepan so that its simmering but not boiling. Keep warm while you start on the risotto.
  2. Melt the butter and 1 tsp of the olive oil in a frying-pan over medium-high heat for a couple of minutes or until the butter foams.
  3. Add the fresh mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook for 3-4 minutes. Set aside the mushrooms once cooked.
  4. Heat a large saucepan over a medium heat and add the remaining oil. Sauté the onion and garlic for 5-6 minutes or until softened.
  5. Add the rice and stir until coated with the oil and becomes shiny.
  6. Add the wine and stir until completely absorbed then add a ladle of the warmed stock and stir occasionally until fully absorbed. Keep adding the stock one ladle at a time stirring frequently until each is absorbed to ensure the rice cooks through evenly.
  7. Season with salt and pepper once all the stock has been used and the rice is cooked, then stir through the baby spinach.
  8. Once the spinach is wilted, stir through the thyme and cooked mushrooms to reheat, then add the goat’s cheese stirring gently until the risotto has a very creamy consistency.
  9. Serve while hot with some extra goats cheese crumbled over the top of each dish along with a little drizzle of fresh lemon juice.

This is a meal in itself but is also delicious served with a green salad. The bitterness of the greens can help to cut through the rich flavours in the risotto.

Substitutions And Variations

If foraging isn’t your thing or you’d like to make this pine mushroom risotto out of season you can replace the saffron milk caps with any mushroom of your choice. Cremini mushrooms, porcini mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms (another fave!) or even a regular button mushroom would all be perfect.

To make it vegan, use vegetable stock in place of the chicken, use all olive oil and leave out the butter and swap the goats cheese for a vegan cheese similar to it or a parmesan-style.

Love lots of cheese? I’ve used goats cheese in this recipe and I find it can be extra delicious with some additional parmesan cheese sprinkled over the top. If preferred, you can also replace all the goats cheese with parmesan.

If you’re a fresh herb lover you canget creative and either add to or replace the thyme with others like oregano or parsley for extra flavour. And if you only have dried herbs at your disposal that’s fine too. Replace the fresh thyme here with one teaspoon of dried.

For a more intense mushroom flavour, make a stock to use in this recipe from dried mushrooms!

Tips For Success With This Recipe

Ensure you’re adding hot chicken stock (or vege stock) to the rice as it cooks. This helps to draw the starch out and also stops it from overcooking.

Stirring the risotto frequently as the stock is added is key to achieving that perfect creamy texture.

Don’t overcook the rice! No-one wants to be eating a mushy risotto. The rice should be al dente when done so that it still has a slight bite or chewiness to it when you dig in.

There is a good pinch of salt in this recipe but if you feel it needs more feel free to adjust seasonings as you go. 

Storing/Freezing/Make Ahead

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. Reheat gently on the stovetop over low heat, adding a splash of broth or water to loosen the consistency.

To freeze, let the risotto come to room temperature then pour into an airtight container and freeze for up to three months. Defrost in the fridge overnight then reheat in the oven, on the stovetop or the microwave until it’s piping hot. Just note the risotto can lose some flavour after it’s been frozen so adjust seasonings and consider adding more cheese or herbs if needed.

This recipe is best enjoyed fresh, so I don’t recommend making it ahead.

Looking down a dirt road towards a fog after the rain in a pine forest.Pin

A Note On Safety

If you’ve never been out foraging for mushroom before or even if you’re only an occasional forager, I highly recommend you take a tour. Mushroom picking is a lot of fun, but it’s not without risk. As such, having an expert guide with you is essential. That way you can enjoy the foraging while knowing an experienced eye will look over your harvest. If you’re in Sydney we have two incredible experts available to us. Margaret Mossakowska from Moss House and Diego Bonetto who both run excellent tours.

FAQ

How do you clean pine mushrooms?

You must always clean pine mushrooms well to remove any dirt and debris because they carry quite a bit. To do this – gently wipe over the top of the mushrooms using a damp paper towel. Do this several times in need. There’s no need to wash the under side of the mushrooms. This side is generally cleaner but it can also take on far too much water, which will ruin the flavour.

How do you identify pine mushrooms in Australia?

The best way to identify pine mushrooms is to play it safe and head out on a tour with a foraging expert. There are plenty, but two I recommend are Margaret Mossakowska from Moss House and Diego Bonetto both run excellent tours.

Where to buy pine mushrooms?

Some green grocers may stock pine mushrooms or they may be available at Farmer’s Markets. For the most part though, the best way to get your hands on them is to go foraging.

More Main Meal Ideas

If you try this recipe, I’d love to know. Leave a comment, rate it, and remember to tag @wholenaturalkitchen in your pics or reels on Instagram, Facebook or TikTok!

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Easy Wild Mushroom Risotto With Pine Mushrooms

This Wild Mushroom Risotto is a warming and hearty Autumn meal that make use of a very special seasonal ingredient – Pine Mushrooms!
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Forage, Foraged food, Wild mushroom
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 448kcal

Equipment

  • Large pot (I used my Le Crueset casserole)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb saffron milk cap mushrooms, cleaned and sliced (500g)
  • 1 tbsp butter (more if needed)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, (or 2.5 Tbsp if omitting butter)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1.5 cups arborio rice, (this was 300g/10.5oz for me), rinsed really well
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 5.5 cups chicken or vegetable stock (start with 5 and add another half if the rice needs more cooking)
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 2 oz goat's cheese (optional) (60g – plus extra for serving)
  • Big handful of thyme, leaves only, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste, (be generous)
  • 1 lemon, (optional)

Instructions

  • Put the stock on the stove to start heating through. You want it hot, just simmering but not boiling.
  • Melt the butter and 1 tsp of the olive oil in a frypan over medium/high heat until the butter foams (use 1.5 Tbsp of oil if not using butter).
  • Add the mushrooms, season with a little salt and pepper and cook for 3-4 minutes until the colour is deep and golden. If your frypan isn’t big enough to take them all in one batch without crowding them, cook them in two lots with half the butter and oil in each. Set aside the mushrooms once cooked.
  • Heat a large, heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat and add the remaining oil. Once it has heated through, add the onion and garlic. Fry for 5-6 minutes or until softened and translucent.
  • Add the rice and stir through for a minute or two until it is coated with the oil and becomes shiny.
  • Add the wine and stir until completely absorbed then add a ladle of the hot stock and stir occasionally until fully absorbed.
  • Keep adding the stock one ladle at a time and stirring occasionally until each is absorbed to ensure the rice cooks through evenly.
  • Once all the stock has been used and the rice is cooked, season with salt and pepper then stir through the baby spinach.
  • Once the spinach has wilted, stir through the thyme and cooked mushrooms to reheat then add the goat's cheese stirring through genetly just before serving.
  • Serve with an extra drizzle of olive oil along with some extra goats cheese and a drizzle of lemon juice if desired.

Video

Notes

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. 
To freeze, let the risotto come to room temperature then pour into an airtight container and freeze for up to three months.
Please see the note on safety above if you are going foraging for these mushrooms.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 448kcal | Carbohydrates: 68g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 1299mg | Potassium: 619mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 2343IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 2mg

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12 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Great flavours, mushrooms shine through. Don’t forget that if you have a glut of pine mushrooms they make excellent mushroom stock for out-of-season risotto.

  2. 5 stars
    I would really love to try these mushroom as I love a mushroom risotto. I had no idea how many health benefits they have either.

  3. 5 stars
    It was a real treat to find these mushrooms during a group foraging trip. The meaty texture and flavor of these mushrooms were so good in this dish, I can’t wait to make this again soon!

  4. 5 stars
    I’m always nervous about cooking risotto because of the consistency but after reading your post I feel much more confident now.

  5. 5 stars
    Had a great weekend foraging around the Black Springs are near Oberon, there hasnt been much rain lately up there but the mushrooms were abundant. Fantastic weekend with 4 generations of family!

    1. That’s wonderful Frank! Sounds like a great day. I’m hoping to get up there again this season. I’m just completing a Diploma of Sustainable Living with UTAS so my weekends are taken up with study but I’m super keen to sneak a forage in.

5 from 8 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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