I found some dried porcini mushrooms, which are Italian, but have great flavor. I looked at the Spanish cheese section and found manchego, so Manchego and Porcini Risotto was born.
Porcinis are pretty expensive, about $10 for 1 oz. I used .5 oz. and utilized the rehydrating liquid (stock) as well.
The manchego was very similar to parmesan at first, it's somewhat crumbly and dry, but then it begins to melt in your mouth as it heats up. It was delicious, but far more expensive than parm.
Because there were so many elements to the entire meal, and especially this dish, I cooked the risotto ahead of time, about 90% through, and then reheated it in the oven. It came out perfectly!
Manchego and Porcini Risotto
.5 oz. porcini mushrooms, reconstituted in 2 c. boiling water
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. EVOO
1 small yellow onion, minced
1 1/2 c. arborio rice
1/2 c. dry white wine
2 c. warmed vegetable stock
about 20 saffron threads
4 oz. Manchego cheese, grated
Salt and pepper
Bring 2 c. water to a boil, add mushrooms.
Let them sit for 5 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon.
Drain stock through a coffee filter, set aside.
Heat a skillet over medium heat, add EVOO and butter.
Sautee onion for a minute, add rice and sautee for 2-3 minutes, or until toasted.
Turn heat to high, add wine and reduce, turn to medium-low.
Every 2-3 minutes, add 1/4-1/2 c. stock (porcini and vegetable).
Stir well after each addition.
Add saffron with one of the stock additions.
Cook for about 25 minutes, or until rice has a little bite to it.
Mince the reconstituted mushrooms, add to risotto.
Add most of the grated cheese, stir well.
Serve or portion into ramekins.
If cooking ahead and warming later:
Place ramekins into a baking dish, fill 3/4 the way up with water.
Add 2 tbsp. stock to the top of each ramekin to keep the risotto moist.
Cover the dish with foil, place in the oven at 300 for 30 minutes to warm through.