2tablespoonssalted butter + 2 tablespoons for finish
2tablespoonsextra virgin olive oil
½large red onionfinely diced
¼cupfrozen petite peasthawed
1cupArborio or Carnaroli rice
4sprigs fresh Thymestripped off stems
¾cupparmesan cheesefreshly grated
Dry the clean morels on paper towels. Cut the larger halves into half again to make bite size pieces.
In a small saucepan on your stovetop, heat the chicken stock and let simmer while preparing the morels and rice.
Heat a non-stick sauté pan on the stovetop over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon butter and let froth. Add the morels, and swirl around to coat in the butter. The mushrooms will give off a significant amount of moisture after 2-4 minutes. Carefully pour the liquid into simmering chicken stock. (The mushroom liquid adds great flavor).
Continue cooking the morels over medium heat until the pan is dry and the mushrooms just start to caramelize. Add 1 more tablespoon of butter to melt into the morels and let cook another 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat and set the pan aside.
To make the risotto heat the butter and olive oil over medium high in a medium size enamel pan on the stovetop. Add onion and black pepper. Cook for 5 - 7 minutes until the red onion is translucent and starting to brown.
Add rice and stir to coat. Cook for 4 minutes or until the rice starts to toast. Add Madeira wine and stir until absorbed. Add ½ cup of hot chicken stock to rice at a time. Stir until each ladle is absorbed before adding another. Keep stirring and adding the stock until its used up. The risotto will start to get creamy. It will take approximately 20 - 30 minutes to add all the liquid. You may need more or less. Be sure to leave it runny at the end because the cheese will absorb more liquid. Each grain of rice should look separate (and not a mushy mess). The rice should also be al dente.
Add the peas, fresh thyme, and cooked morels to the risotto and gently stir in. Gently simmer 1 minute to blend flavors. To finish the risotto, add the butter and the parmesan cheese and stir in until all is melted and coated.
Note: If using salted butter and chicken stock, salt is not needed.