Pine Mushroom Risotto
This pine mushroom risotto is quite a special meal. It’s one that can only be enjoyed for a few short months in Autumn each year… and oftentimes, you need to go foraging for the mushrooms yourself! Dishes containing pine mushrooms have increased in popularity the last few years so you may also be lucky enough to find a vendor with them at your local farmer’s market.
Are saffron milk caps good for you?
Pine mushrooms (Lactarius deliciosus) are most commonly known as saffron milk caps, and they do come with a bundle of nutrients – as so many varieties of mushrooms do.
Mushrooms are rich in a variety of nutrients and are 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.
Ingredients To Make This Risotto
There are many saffron milk cap recipes that can be enjoyed with your seasonal harvest. Risotto is definitely one that makes this ingredient shine though. The combination of pine mushrooms, oil and butter, garlic, wine, and thyme make this recipe especially luscious.
- 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 – adds acidity and a bright, fruity flavour to the risotto while also helping to 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.
- Brown onion – gives this dish some added sweetness and depth of flavour.
- Garlic and thyme – adds a pungent, savoury taste, while thyme adds subtle earthy notes.
- Goat’s cheese – makes the risotto creamy and balances out other big, rich flavours.
I use my homemade chicken stock to make this risotto, but for a completely vegetarian version vegetable stock is fine. If using stock cubes just be mindful that they’re often very salty so adjust the level of added salt accordingly.
How To Make This Pine Mushroom Risotto
It’s not often you can say one of your meals starts with a forage in the pine forests but this one just might!
- Heat the stock so that its simmering but not boiling. Keep warm while you start on the risotto.
- Melt the butter and 1 tsp of the olive oil in a frying-pan over medium/high heat until the butter foams.
- Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook for 3-4 minutes. Set aside the mushrooms once cooked.
- Heat a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat and add the remaining oil. Sauté the onion and garlic for 5-6 minutes or until softened.
- Add the rice and stir until coated with the oil and becomes shiny.
- 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.
- Season with salt and pepper once all the stock has been used and the rice is cooked, then stir through the baby spinach. Once wilted, stir through the thyme and cooked mushrooms to reheat then add the goat’s cheese if using just before serving.
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.
I’ve heard many times from people that they find risotto difficult to make. I felt that way for a while too. However, with a bit of trial and error I’ve got it down to an art form! If you feel like you need a bit of extra help you will find a list of my top 6 tips in my beetroot, goats cheese and spinach risotto recipe.
If you’ve never been out foraging for mushroom before I highly recommend you take a tour the first time. If you’re in Sydney we have two great options. Margaret from Moss House and Diego Bonetto both run excellent tours.
Watch How To Make This Recipe
Pine mushroom risotto
- Large pot (I used my Le Crueset casserole)
- 500 g saffron milk cap mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- 25 g butter
- 1 Tbsp olive oil, (or 2.5 Tbsp if omitting butter)
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 brown onion, diced
- 1.5 cups arborio rice, (this was 300g/10.5oz for me), rinsed really well
- 100 ml 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
- 60 g goat's cheese (optional)
- Big handful of thyme, leaves only, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste, (be generous)
- 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 heavy-based saucepan (I used my Le Creuset pot) 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 warmed 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 this has wilted, stir through the thyme and cooked mushrooms to reheat then add the goat's cheese just before serving.
- Serve with an extra drizzle of olive oil and a green salad.
- If your mushrooms are particularly large, cut them into half or quarters before slicing.
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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!
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.
I’m always nervous about cooking risotto because of the consistency but after reading your post I feel much more confident now.
I’m so happy to hear that Charla!
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!
Isn’t foraging fun?! I really enjoy going out on these trips each year. So glad you enjoyed the risotto too.
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.
Yes so many! Mushies are such a great food. Hope you can hunt some down sometime soon.
The saffron milk cup mushrooms look so fresh. The risotto looks so creamy and delicious.
Thanks so much Seema! They sure were fresh. Straight from the forest to my kitchen on the same day.
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.
Oooo top tip thanks, Ben!