Cheesy Rice with Garlic and Thyme
adapted from Fine Cooking, April/May 2012
1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms (I used shitake because that is what I had on hand.)
1 cup Arborio rice
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 medium clove garlic, crushed
2 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme, additional for garnish
4 oz. (1 cup) coarsely grated fontina
3/4 oz. (1/2 cup) firmly packed, freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano; more for serving
Freshly ground white pepper
Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a 3-4 quart saucepan over high heat.
Pulse the mushrooms in a spice grinder until they're about the size of raw oatmeal flakes.
Add the mushrooms, 1 Tbs salt and the rice to the boiling water. Reduce the heat to medium to maintain a gentle simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice is al dente, 10-12 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in an 8-inch saute pan over medium-high heat, swirling continuously until it turns a deep golden-brown being careful not to burn it. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and stir in the garlic and thyme. Set aside.
Set a large, fine strainer over a bowl and strain the cooked rice and mushrooms catching the broth in the bowl. Return the rice mixture to the pan over low heat. Stir in the cheeses and the butter mixture and moisten the rice with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the both. Season to taste with salt and pepper and cook another 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle additional cheese and thyme sprigs for garnish.