There is a saying that goes… ‘Good things come to those who sweat.’ and while I would normally agree with it, this recipe is a delicious exception. Sweat no more, because this recipe is tiny effort = amazing meal! In my case, what initially seemed like a complicated dish turned out to be the go-to recipe for when friends come over. Who doesn’t like a luscious rich cheesy risotto that will melt in your mouth?
The first time I embarked on a risotto mission was back in 2014 when I was living in Vancouver (or Burnaby, rather). One night, two Dutch friends and I decided that we wanted to cook a nice meal, and since one of them was vegan, we did a bit of research and stumbled upon this recipe. Now that I think of it, this was my first “intentional” vegan meal, and she was the first vegan person I met. Back in the day, this green organic plant-based food world didn’t mean much to me as I didn’t really know much about it.
It turned out to be a mindblowing dish. In the last 3 years I’ve probably cooked it +20 times. With time and repetition I have adapted and modified the recipe, taking ideas from other risottos like this one and adding/removing ingredients to keep the flame burning (and the excitement going).
To cook risotto you can use different classes of rice. The most common ones are Arborio, Carnaroli and Vialone nano, although there are other varieties that can also be used. What all these kinds of rice have in common is that they have low amounts of amylose and have a high absorptive capacity and easily release starch, without it becoming doughy. These features are what allow the risotto to be cooked slowly, with a lot of love, and finally acquire that nice creaminess. For this recipe, I used Arborio because that’s the rice I had at home.
In this case, the play’s main characters are mushrooms, roasted garlic and toasted pine nuts, but risotto is a freestyle dish, similar to pesto or gazpacho, and that’s what makes it such a fun dish. According to allrecipes.co.uk there are 191 types of risottos but I believe there are infinite types. As long as you know the technique, you can go with the flow 🙂
Ingredients (like in movies, in order of appearance)
- 6 garlic cloves
- 30g butter or olive oil
- 1 white onion
- 200g mushrooms (Portobello, Honey, Wild…)
- 230g Arborio rice
- 1 bunch of pinenuts
- 2 tbsp. white wine
- 1/2 lemon juice
- 800-900ml. vegetable stock
- Parmesan or Grana padano, grated
- Salt & Pepper
Optional: toppings (fresh basil, spring onions)
- Preheat oven to 220º. Once hot place paper-wrapped garlic cloves in the oven. Cook until tender (25-30mins).
- In a large sauce pan, add the butter and melt at low heat. Finely chop the onion and add too.
- Chop the mushrooms and add to pan once onions are transparent. I like chopping in large chunks but this is a personal preference. Cook for a few minutes until mushrooms have released most water. Meanwhile, set a small pan to low-medium heat and toast the pinenuts.
- Add the rice and stir well, let it cook until it starts to make krispy sounds. Add pinenuts and wine. Let it sit until wine is soaked/ alcohol evaporated.
- This step is key to achieve creaminess, so be patient! Add the stock, one spoon at a time, let the rice soak up the stock before adding anymore. The amount of stock can vary, so make sure to taste until rice is al dente.
- Once rice is creamy and texture is at your taste, turn off the heat and add 1/2 grated cheese and mix well. Add the rest of the cheese and toppings at the end when you plate.