Cooking With the Stars at 54 Below: Wild Mushroom Risotto With Alice Ripley

The Tony Award winner shows off her Suzy Homemaker side, cute apron and all.

After making mac and cheese with Joe Iconis, a chocolate tart with Betsy Wolfe and Adam Kantor, and grilling shrimp with The Skivvies, we had to put a harder dish to the test in the kitchen at 54 Below.

So we asked Tony Award winner Alice Ripley, who will bring her Ripley Reflects show to the venue on November 12, to pick her favorite item on the menu. The result? Wild mushroom risotto. Not only was the Next to Normal star eager to get her hands wet, she also brought her own apron, which she got at Anthropologie. And you can purchase one here.

Wild Mushroom Risotto for a Party

Serves 10 lucky friends.


1 16-oz box carnaroli rice
1 white onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 qt white wine
6 qts chicken stock
4 cups wild mushrooms, sliced (use hen-of-the-wood, chanterelle, wood ear, or truffle shavings)
Dry shiitake mushrooms (rehydrate in simmering water for 20 minutes; save water for recipe)
2 fresh bay leaves
1 bunch fresh thyme, chopped
1 small bunch fresh parsley, chopped
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated and shaved
1 T mascarpone cheese
White truffle oil
Chives, chopped, for garnish

To prepare: Heat large heavy deep skillet, add olive oil then sauté onions until translucent. Add garlic and cook for two minutes. Add wild mushrooms and shiitakes, and sauté until they release their juices, coating bottom of skillet. Add white wine and, using a wooden spatula or spoon, deglaze the bottom of skillet, scraping the good bit on bottom. (Use caution! Heated wine can ignite, and you don't want signed eyebrows, trust me.) Reduce until fairly dry. Add risotto and "toast" for a few minutes. Once wine is reduced sufficiently, add warm shiitake mushroom water. Let the rice absorb this stock, then add a ladle of warm chicken stock, stir, and allow rice to absorb the liquid. Repeat this process ladle by ladle until rice becomes full and creamy. Taste the risotto for flavor and texture. (Stop at this point if you plan on reheating at a later time; remove from heat, transfer to parchment-lined sheet pan, and refrigerate.)

When ready to serve, return risotto to large skillet and continue the process of adding warm stock. Fold in mascarpone cheese and parsley, and add more stock if necessary. Most importantly, the risotto must remain al dente and have a bit of a bite! Before serving, fold in grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and allow to melt in.

To serve: Place rice in warm bowl, sprinkle with chives, top with shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, and dot with truffle oil.