This mushroom red wine risotto is a fun, colorful twist on a classic risotto recipe! With sautéed baby portobello mushrooms, fresh thyme, and plenty of parmesan cheese.
If you want to give your homemade risotto a lil' razzle-dazzle, look no further than a bottle of red wine. While classic risotto recipes (like our summer risotto) typically feature white wine, we love the earthy, complex flavor and blush pink color that a hearty red lends to this recipe.
Like all risottos, this recipe takes a bit of time, attention, and patience - but the reward is well worth it. Pair with a quick lemon arugula salad or some crusty homemade bread for a full, delicious meal that's perfect for date night or a cozy evening at home!
Scroll to the recipe card below for a full ingredients list with exact quantities.
Before you jump in, there are a few things we want to highlight:
- Arborio rice is the key ingredient in any risotto: It's a short-grain Italian rice with plenty of starch, which gives us an ultra-creamy texture.
- Vegetable or chicken broth (or stock) is our primary cooking liquid. In our testing, we preferred homemade stock or broth (like our turkey stock, which you can also make with chicken) since some store-bought brands have a strong taste that overpowers the delicate flavors in risotto. This recipe is also excellent with homemade parmesan broth!
- Baby portobello mushrooms are our go-to, although this recipe also works well with white button mushrooms, wild mushrooms (like shiitake, chanterelles, or oyster mushrooms), or a mix of multiple varieties.
- Parmesan Cheese. Use real Parmigiano Reggiano cheese here, and shred it yourself to ensure it melts smoothly!
- Red wine gives our risotto a deep, earthy flavor and a gorgeous light pink color. Use a dry red wine with lots of body, like a Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Merlot.
Variations and Substitutions
This recipe is fairly forgiving: It's easy to customize with whatever you have on hand! A few of our favorite riffs:
- Add protein. Top this risotto with chicken, salmon, steak, or shrimp (we love this baked shrimp recipe). You can also add crispy bacon or pancetta.
- Mix up the veggies. Add asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, or your other favorite veggies to this dish!
- Swap the cheese. Use a bit of goat cheese or mascarpone in place of some or all of the parmesan for a fun twist.
- Add a drizzle of browned butter (we love the sage browned butter in our butternut squash risotto!) over the top of this risotto for a burst of nutty, earthy flavor.
Step by Step Instructions
Start by sautéeing diced onion in a large, deep saucepan with a bit of olive oil (Image 1, above). When the onion has just begun to brown, add sliced mushrooms (Image 2).
Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have reduced and begun to brown.
Presentation Tip: Set aside a few of these browned mushrooms. Use them for topping the risotto just before serving to add some vibrant pops of color!
Stir in minced garlic, fresh thyme leaves, and a pinch of kosher salt (Image 3, above), then add the arborio rice (4).
Stir everything together; cook until the rice has soaked up any liquid and starts turning translucent around the edges. Stir in the red wine to deglaze (Image 5, below).
Cook, stirring frequently, until most of the red wine has been absorbed, then add chicken stock or broth a little at a time (Image 6, above).
The key to a great risotto is adding the broth in increments and letting it absorb slowly, with lots of stirring in between each addition. Add about a cup of broth at a time, and let it absorb almost entirely before adding the next cup.
Pro tip: Warm up the broth in the microwave or bring it to a low simmer in a medium saucepan before adding it to the risotto. Using warm stock or broth helps the rice cook more evenly, speeds up the cooking process, and yields an especially creamy sauce. (If you're short on time - or low on patience - you can skip this step: It made a small difference in our testing, but it's not a make-or-break technique).
When all of the chicken stock has been added and the rice is cooked through, turn off the heat. Stir in butter and parmesan cheese (Image 7, above). At this point, you should have a creamy, somewhat loose risotto that pools a little bit as you stir it (8).
Pro Tip: If your risotto looks dry, stir in a bit more chicken or vegetable stock, butter, or parmesan to loosen it up. Different brands of rice, types of mushrooms, pan sizes, and heat sources can affect how much stock is absorbed (and how quickly) during the cooking process: Don't be afraid to add a bit of extra liquid to help your risotto reach the proper consistency!
Store cooled leftover risotto in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat in a skillet with an extra splash of chicken stock to bring it back to its creamy consistency.
A Few FAQs
Add an extra splash of chicken stock, wine, or butter to bring dry risotto back to a creamy consistency!
It certainly can be! Strict vegetarians should look for parmesan cheese made without rennet, and be sure to use vegetable broth or vegetable stock for the cooking liquid.
We used a Zinfandel in these photos; this recipe also works well with a hearty Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Malbec, Grenache, Tempranillo, or your favorite nonalcoholic red wine (we like the Surely Non-Alcoholic Red Blend). If you don't have red wine on hand, you can use white wine in its place (similar to our butternut squash risotto and summer risotto recipes!) or use extra chicken or vegetable stock in place of the wine.
More Cozy Dinner Ideas
Did you make this recipe? Leave a comment and star rating below to let us know how it turned out!Print
This easy, creamy mushroom risotto recipe gets a fun, colorful twist thanks to some hearty red wine!
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- ½ large yellow onion, diced (about ½ cup)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 12 ounces baby portobello mushrooms, sliced (about 4 cups)
- kosher salt, to taste
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme, plus extra for garnish
- 2 cups arborio rice
- 1 cup red wine (we used a Zinfandel)
- 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock, divided (you may not need all of it)
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- Heat olive oil in a large, deep saucepan over medium heat.
- Add onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes or until translucent and slightly browned.
- Add mushrooms to saucepan and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes until mushrooms have reduced in size and begun to brown. (Tip: Reserve a few of the browned mushrooms for topping the risotto later if you like!)
- Add garlic and a pinch of salt to mushroom mixture. Pull thyme leaves off the sprigs and add them to the pan (discard or compost the stems). Stir to combine and cook another minute or so, until garlic is fragrant.
- Add arborio rice to saucepan; stir to combine. Cook, stirring frequently, for about a minute, until the rice has absorbed any remaining liquid and the grains begin to turn translucent around the edges.
- Add red wine to pan to deglaze. Stir to incorporate, making sure to scrape any browned bits (called "fond") off the bottom of the pan. Cook, stirring frequently, until rice has absorbed nearly all of the wine, about 7-10 minutes.
- Add one cup of chicken stock; stir to combine. Cook, stirring frequently, for 10-15 minutes, until rice has absorbed nearly all of the stock. (You should be able to drag a wooden spoon across the bottom of the pan without seeing any large pools of liquid). Repeat this process, adding one cup of stock at a time and letting the rice absorb it in between each addition, until rice is cooked through. As you near the end of the cooking process, you may want to add stock in smaller increments - such as ½ cup or even ¼ cup at a time - so as not to overcook the rice. Taste for doneness and add salt as needed between each addition: the only surefire way to know when your risotto is "done" is to taste it! When your risotto is ready, the rice should have a slight bite to it and be creamy but not stiff or gummy. When you drag a wooden spoon across the bottom of the pan, the finished risotto should slowly seep back into the space.
- When rice is cooked, turn off the heat. Add butter and shredded parmesan cheese, stirring continuously until they've both melted into the risotto. Taste again and add seasoning if necessary.
- Add optional toppings (we like adding extra fresh thyme, more shredded parmesan, or reserved mushrooms) and serve immediately.
Should I warm up my chicken stock? Traditional risotto is made with warm or simmering chicken stock. Using hot stock can speed the cooking process (cold stock can cool down the pan, which adds extra cooking time because the pan needs to come back up to temperature). It also encourages your rice to release as much starch as possible for an ultra-creamy risotto. If you have the time and the inclination, bring your stock to a low simmer in a separate saucepan and ladle it directly from that saucepan into your risotto as you cook. If you don't want to dirty an extra pot, you can add stock to a microwave-safe measuring cup and microwave it for 30 seconds or so before adding it to your risotto. We tested this recipe with cold, room-temperature, and simmering chicken stock, and honestly? They're all fine. Using warm or simmering stock definitely makes the risotto cook a few minutes faster and it's a little bit creamier, but the difference is pretty negligible. So do whatever you want!
Additions and substitutions. Add protein (chicken, salmon, shrimp, steak) or veggies (asparagus, roasted veggies, cauliflower). Use goat cheese or mascarpone in place of some or all of the parmesan. Use white wine in place of red wine, or swap the wine for your favorite non-alcoholic wine or additional chicken stock. Use ½ teaspoon dried thyme in place of the fresh thyme if needed (although the fresh thyme really does make a difference!) Use parmesan broth in place of the chicken or vegetable stock.
Vegan & Vegetarian options. Use a high-quality vegetable stock instead of chicken stock (look for veggie stock with a delicate flavor or make your own - some brands have a VERY strong taste that can overpower the risotto here). Vegetarians should make sure to buy parmesan cheese made without rennet. Vegans can skip the butter and cheese: instead, swirl in some dairy-free butter or nutritional yeast at the end of the cooking process.
Risotto takes time, patience, and practice. Be sure to taste as you go and don't worry if it takes a few tries to get it perfect!
- Serving Size: Serves 4
- Calories: 662
- Sugar: 6.1 g
- Sodium: 1574.2 mg
- Fat: 24.3 g
- Carbohydrates: 84.8 g
- Protein: 15.9 g
- Cholesterol: 44.9 mg
Keywords: main dish, comfort food, rice