Total Time: 45 minutes
Risotto? Isn't that tricky to make and loaded with cream? No, and no. Try this delicious version, made in the classic way, and see for yourself. True risotto is a luscious, satisfying entrée or first course that gets most of its creaminess when the starch is slowly released from the short-grain rice. Sure, it involves a few minutes of standing and stirring. But pour yourself a glass of whatever wine you're using in the risotto, and think of it as a little meditation break at the end of a busy day.
Place dried mushrooms in a small bowl; add warm water to cover. Let sit until softened, about 30 minutes. Remove mushrooms, squeezing out excess liquid. Chop mushrooms coarsely. Place a fine sieve over a 4-cup measuring cup. Strain the liquid into the cup.
Preheat oven to 325°. Place pine nuts in a small pan and bake, shaking once or twice, until just golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Let cool.
In a large frying pan, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Add fresh mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the rehydrated mushrooms. Add the 3 tablespoons white wine and cook 1 minute, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
Add enough stock to the dried mushroom liquid to make 4 cups. Pour into a medium saucepan and keep warm over low heat.
In a large saucepan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Stir in the thyme and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened but not browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring often, until coated with oil and translucent, 2 to 3 minutes.
Pour in the ¼ cup white wine and bring rice mixture to a boil over high heat, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook, stirring often, until wine is absorbed, 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Pour in 1 cup of the warm mushroom liquid and cook, stirring often, until absorbed. Continue adding liquid to rice, 1 cup at a time, stirring often, until it is absorbed and rice is creamy and tender but still firm in the center, 15 to 20 minutes total.
Stir in mushrooms, ¼ cup of the pine nuts, ⅓ cup Parmesan, and the butter. Cook, stirring, until mushrooms are heated through and butter has melted, 1 to 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide risotto equally among 4 warm, shallow bowls or plates and top with the remaining ¼ cup pine nuts. Pass remaining Parmesan cheese at the table.