Bacalhau Risotto with Wild Mushrooms

Bacalhau Risotto with Wild Mushrooms

By David Wong

Fish works great in a risotto. Paired with rice, the fish becomes deliciously flaky and delicate. This variation on the classic Italian rice dish uses Portugal’s beloved bacalhau (salted cod) and three kinds of wild mushrooms—porcini, morels and shitake. I use Parmesan cheese. I feel it cannot be a true risotto if you don’t used this wonderful cheese, which in Italy is rightly considered a symbol of culture and civilization. Be civilized: use Parmesan!

6 tablespoons olive oil

320 g Italian arborio rice

120 ml dry white wine

940 ml fish stock

200 g mixed fresh wild mushrooms (porcini, morels and shitake)

200 g salt cod (bacalhau)

50 g shallots

10 g parsley

10 g garlic

230 ml cream

50 g Parmesan cheese

2 pcs bay leaf

2 sprigs thyme

Seasoning to taste


(serves four)


1.         To loosen up the meat and dissolve any large chunks of rock salt, soak the bacalhau in ice water for 24 hours. When the cod is ready, pick out large flakes of fish and steam them for 15 minutes.

2.         Heat the olive oil in a heavy saucepan. Add the chopped shallots, bay leaf and thyme.

3.         Then add the rice and stir well. Add the mushrooms, stir again and add the white wine.

4.         Stir well until the wine evaporates, and then add the fish stock.

5.         Bring to a boil. Continue to add fish stock and cook until the rice is al dente—firm to the bite.

6.         Add the bacalhau and mix well.

7.         Take the risotto off the heat. Remove and discard the bay leaf and thyme.

8.         Mix in the cream and cheese and finish with a mix of chopped parsley and garlic.

9.         Decorate with Parmesan shavings.