A NEW BELIEVER!
What if I told you that there was a mushroom that tasted like bacon?
Would you believe me? Probably not, and I wouldn’t blame you. Because that’s exactly what happened
to me when I visited with Bobby Chandler of Mariaville Mushroom Men at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market
this past Saturday. I stopped by his table to grab some of my favorite shiitakes, and casually mentioned
that I wished my husband and children enjoyed mushrooms as much as I did. Without skipping a beat,
he recommended I try some pioppinos. “You should have them try these,” he said. “They actually taste
like bacon.” I was intrigued.
The Mariaville Mushroom Men are known for their gourmet mushrooms including: shiitake, oyster, and
lions mane. Each type of mushroom they grow, is not only flavorful, but they provide numerous healing
properties as well. Shiitake mushrooms are known to reduce cholesterol, prevent cancer and boost the
immune system. Oyster mushrooms are antiviral and antibacterial. They also moderate blood pressure
and support the nervous system. Lions mane mushrooms offer all of the above benefits in addition to
helping nerves and cells to regenerate.
In fact, their latest addition, the pioppino mushroom, has anti-fungal and antibiotic characteristics and
has been shown to slow down tumor growth in certain cancers. Many also believe that dried pioppinos
can help reduce headache pain, dizziness, nausea and fevers. But tasting like bacon? I had my doubts,
but decided to take his advice and give them a try.
I asked Chandler how they should be prepared. Because of the pioppino’s firmer texture, and savory
umami flavor, he recommended using them in a risotto and handed me a recipe. Armed with a bag of
mushrooms and other local ingredients, my new recipe card and the hope of winning over the rest my
family, I headed home to make dinner.
Wow! Just wow! First, let me tell you that The Mariaville Mushroom Men’s Risotto did not disappoint.
Pairing their beautiful pioppino mushrooms with local white wine, shallots, garlic, herbs and a nutty,
salty Parmesan cheese, created a rich, creamy, velvety dish that would rival some of the finest
restaurants in Italy. And second, Chandler was right! The pioppino mushrooms tasted just like bacon!
My family loved it!
Traditionally, risotto can either be served as a simple accompaniment to a heartier dish, or as the main
course. Mariaville’s pioppino mushrooms made this recipe full of protein, fiber and flavor, so we opted
for it to be our entrée and it was more than satisfying. In fact, I think it’s safe to say this recipe has
quickly become a new family favorite.
The best part is that we all learned something at this dinner; my family learned that they actually like
mushrooms, and I learned to never doubt a mushroom farmer!
Mariaville Mushroom Risotto
PREP TIME: 5-10 mins
TOTAL TIME: 45 mins
INGREDIENTS: *Available at the market
2 Tbsp butter
2 cups pioppino mushrooms*; cleaned, trimmed, and cut into half inch to inch pieces (could also
substitute shiitake or oyster mushrooms)
2/3 cup dry white wine*
5-6 cups chicken stock (substitute vegetable stock for vegetarian option)
1/3 cup shallots*; peeled and minced
1 clove garlic*; peeled and minced
1 3/4 cups Arborio rice
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp fresh parsley* or chives*; chopped
Bring stock to a simmer in a saucepan.
Set a deep, heavy, medium sized saucepan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and dry sauté for 1-
2 minutes and let the mushrooms cook in their own juices. Add butter, shallots, and garlic and sauté
about 5 minutes.
Add the rice and stir to combine.
Add wine, bring to a boil, and reduce liquid by half, about 3-4 minutes.
Add simmering stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring to keep the rice from sticking to the edges of the pan.
Stir the rice almost constantly. Wait until the stock is almost completely absorbed before adding the
next 1/2 cup. This process will take about 25 minutes, adding 1/2 cup at a time, until the rice is just
cooked and slightly chewy.
Stir in the Parmesan cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Garnish with fresh herbs.