Saturday, March 26, 2011

Vegan Risotto, Take One, Take Two

This week, I decided to try out vegan risotto. My first time making risotto ever and from what I have read, it is not really hard to make, just takes a little TLC to get it right. I thought I had aborio rice hanging around in my cupboard for the longest time and I figured, what better time than now to give it a try!

I am going to just come out and confess now. I made a few mistakes. I did not follow a recipe. I did not use the correct rice and I did over cook it a little bit. Let's start at the beginning...

Lesson number 1 - Always, always check that you have all ingredients before you start cooking. I was sure that I had aborio rice in my cupboard. I have seen it there so many times and every time I think, I should make a risotto. Now that that time finally came, the rice was nowhere to be seen. Had I checked that I had all my ingredients before starting; I could have gone to the store, or just put this one on hold. Because I didn't, I had to make do with what I had, which was long grain brown rice. This brings me to my second lesson learned...

Lesson number 2 - If you do not have the correct rice for risotto... do not use long grain rice! I really should have done a bit of online searching on this one. I knew as I was making the decision that it did not feel right. As it turns out, you really shouldn't make risotto unless you have the correct rice. If you must make a substitution, you need a short grain rice. Long grain takes much longer to cook and it just doesn't have the gluten to get the correct texture. In the end, you'll just end up with a labor-intensive pilaf.

Lesson number 3 - Make your own broth. I thought that this one was something that would be like most recipes. yes, it is nice if you have the time to have a hearty home-made broth to use, but in a pinch a store-bought broth will be just fine. I felt that the final product was much too salty. And this is coming from a person that loooves salt. If I did this recipe again, I would definitely make my own broth.. or at the very least dilute the store bought one a little bit.

Now after all these lessons, I did come up with a decent risotto and even the botched attempt that I made was not too bad. It just wasn't risotto. I urge anyone that has not made a risotto to give it try. There is something really relaxing about turning so much attention to your food. I turned on some blues and silenced the phone and actually turned off the world around me. It was truly a nice zen moment which happens so rarely these days.

Here is the recipe:

Wild Mushroom Risotto
Serves about 6, takes about an hour
  • 8 - 10 cups of vegetable broth, homemade if possible
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup of rice
  • 1 small onion, chopped (I used a red one)
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup (or more) of mushrooms (I used a variety pack from the farmers market. Use what ever your faves are)
  • 1/4 cup of chopped sun-dried tomato
  • 2 Tbsp on nutritional yeast flakes or vegan Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • 1-2 Tbsp of chipped parsley, for garnish

First get your broth on the stove and heat it over medium low heat so it is simmering. While waiting for the broth to heat, prep your veggies and have them ready. Take a large pot and heat over medium heat and add the oil. Once the pan is hot, add the onion and stir it around for a couple minutes, until it is translucent. Next add the carrot and celery and cook another 2-3 minutes. Add about 1/2 - 3/4 cup of the mushrooms and cook until they begin to soften.

If the pan is a bit dried, add a little more oil. Now, add the rice and stir really well. Let the rice toast in the pan for about 2-3 minutes. Once the rice is well coast and a bit toasted pour 2 ladles of the vegetable broth and start stirring.

The trick to a good risotto is to keep it moving and never let the pot go dry. Continue to add a ladle or two of broth once most of it is absorbed. Continue to do this until all the broth is absorbed into the rice. When you pour the last bit of broth in, add the remainder of the mushrooms, the sun-dried tomatoes and stir until the broth is all absorbed. Test the rice and if it is still not cooked, add more broth or water and continue to stir.

Finally, add the nutritional yeast, if you are using it and the parsley and serve immediately with a good wine and some greens.

After all that stirring, you have earned it!

1 comment:

  1. I was looking for a flax milk recipe, saw yours, then started looking through your other posts. I absolutely love risotto and had to see how you made it. Yours is different from mine, but seems like it would be good. Will definitely be looking into your other recipes! :o)