This recipe was posted three years ago at holiday time, when it was cold. It’s supposed to be spring. It’s still cold. There is one last shot here for a lovely savory risotto. This calls for mushrooms and you should keep those but a splash of spring peas or sauteed shallots would be happily welcome.

This dish is typical of the treasures in Artisanal Cooking by Terrance Brennan. For the holidays, this is a book to be consulted, followed, and surely savored. During the week between Christmas and New Year’s, this dish can bring the satisfaction that only risotto provides. This could well be your treat for a New Year’s Eve meal.

A simple risotto, made with quality rice and rich home-made stock, is a feast unto itself. Here, that richness accelerates with the addition of mushroom, favas beans, and duck confit. If confit is something you enjoy, then feel free to add more than the ½ cup called for in the recipe.

Actually, you have plenty of room for play here. Not a fan of fava beans? Too harsh? Then substitute the sweetness of peas. This is a recipe you can play with, experiment with, to get your own personal risotto rush.

Oh, you have turkey leftovers? Dark turkey meat is a perfect substitute for the confit.

When you make risotto, stirring the risotto vigorously at the halfway point releases starches to achieve a creamy consistency. Stirring vigorously later in the cooking process will actually break the individual grains of rice and produce a less pleasant process. The seasonal variation part of this recipe comes from substituting things for the fava beans as I suggest above. You can use corn in the summer, diced pumpkin in the fall, and diced squash in the winter. Or, just go with those sweet peas.

Wild Mushroom and Duck Risotto with Seasonal Variations

Yield: serves 4


  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup fava beans (from 2 pounds fava beans in the pod)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup wild mushrooms (chanterelles, oyster, porcini), trimmed and wiped clean with a damp cloth. Thinly sliced)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper in a mill
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons diced onion
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 cups carnaroli or other risotto rice such as Arborio or vialone nano
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups white chicken stock (preferably homemade), simmering on a pot on a back burner
  • ½ cup confit duck leg, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (from 3 ¾ ounces cheese)
  • 1 teaspoon white truffle oil


FILL a large bowl halfway with ice water.

POUR the 3 cups of water into a 1-quart saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the fava beans and blanch for 1 minute. Transfer the favas to the ice water with a slotted spoon to shock them to stop the cooking. Strain and remove the outer skins. Set aside.

HEAT the oil in an 8-inch sauté pan set over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until they begin to release their juices, approximately 4 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter and sauté for 2 more minutes. Season with salt and 3 grinds of pepper. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

MELT 2 tablespoons of the butter in a 4-quart saucepan set over medium low heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and cook until softened but not browned, approximately 4 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the risotto rice and stir to coat the rice with the butter, approximately 1 minute. Add the wine and continue to stir. Once the wine has been absorbed by the rice, add 1 cup of the chicken stock, stirring constantly. Once the stock has been absorbed by the rice, add another cup. Repeat the process with the remaining stock, stirring constantly. After you have added about half the stock, vigorously stir and agitate the rice for 30 seconds to release its starch content. When finished, the rice should be very thick and creamy and when stirred, should hold its shape for a moment before falling slightly. Fold the mushrooms, fava beans, and duck into the risotto.

REMVOE the pot from the heat and stir in the remaining 3 tablespoons butter, the

Parmigiano-Reggiano, ¾ teaspoon salt, 6 grinds of pepper, and the truffle oil. Mix well, divide among individual plates or shallow bowls, and serve

Source: Artisanal Cooking by Terrance Brennan [John Wiley & Sons, 2005]