Vegan Mushroom Risotto


So I recently caught word of one of the Ten Culinary Testaments and it goes a little something like this: “Risotto… is really hard to make.”

WELL GUESS WHAT CULINARY BISHOPS, I DON’T BUY IT. 

You see, a strange thing happened when we made this risotto: it came out perfectly. On our first try. And we didn’t even stir constantly.

Every risotto culinary myth dispelled in an instant. 

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Let’s back up and pretend you don’t know what risotto is… I’m not suggesting you don’t – we all know you’re more cultured than that – but let’s just play pretend for a second. Risotto is Italian rice porridge made by mixing hot broth into arborio rice little bits at a time until the rice is al dente and there’s a creamy sauce coating it, which is created by the slow release of the rice’s starch. It’s said to be an extremely tedious dish because “you have you stir it constantly,” “the temperature can’t be too hot or it’ll burn,” and “it has to be made at the peak of a Sunset in Rome.”

Okay, maybe I made that last one up, but you get my point. After making it one time I can tell you that it’s truly not worthy of its infamy. As long as you do these few things, you will have quality risotto in your pot:

  • Use arborio rice, whose shape and starch content creates the ideal mouth-feel and creaminess.
  • Keep your broth at a bare simmer, which will prevent the risotto from dipping in temperature every time you add more liquid.
  • Add just enough broth to cover the rice and let it cook until only a thin layer of moisture remains on the bottom of the pot
  • Finally, the most important step: DO NOT – I repeat – do not allow all of the broth in the pot to evaporate, because this will lead to a newly finished coating of burnt rice in your pot. Not what you want.

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If any of this is confusing, all your questions will be cleared up in the recipe, but in the meantime, let’s dive into some tasty descriptions. In my eyes, risotto is like Italy’s version of oatmeal – only it’s savory and made with rice. Aside from that, they’re both heart warming, give you that “stuffed feeling,” and make you feel like you’re in the comfort of your mom’s home – even if you’re sitting thousands of miles away, here in LA.

Thankfully for us, risotto is mostly vegan in it’s natural state – how un-Italian of it. All we have to do is swap out the butter with vegan butter and parmesan cheese for nutritional yeast! Half the time, vegetable broth is what’s called for – so no quarrels there – but we went with a half & half mixture of vegetable broth, for its aromatic essence, and mushroom broth, for it’s deepness.

Okay, before I lead you guys to the recipe, I’ve gotta say that this risotto recipe is hardly “original.” I mean, that’d be like making a pot of oatmeal and claiming you invented it  – nah, it’s been around for decades. Instead, we based this recipe off of culinary’s tried and true hero: Alton Brown! Is there anything AB can’t do?

No – the answer is no.

If you like what your tastebuds are tellin’ ya, leave behind a nice rating, share your thoughts with us in the comments, or show us your creations by tagging @noeggsorham on Instagram.

Go Forth and break those petty culinary dogmas,
Ryan

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Vegan Mushroom Risotto

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Print

Comforting al dente rice porridge made with deep mushroom broth, aromatic veggie broth, and sautéed cremini mushrooms.

Ingredients

  • 3 c vegetable broth
  • 3 c mushroom broth
  • 1 c dry white wine (we used a sauvignon blanc)
  • 4 tbsp vegan butter (we like Melt), divided
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 c arborio rice
  • 1/3 c nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions

  1. Combine vegetable broth, mushroom broth, and white wine in a medium pot over medium heat. Keep at a bare simmer with a lid on throughout the process – anywhere from medium-low to medium heat.
  2. Place a large saucier or dutch oven over medium heat. Once hot, add in 2 tablespoons of butter, followed by diced onion, and a medium pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is mostly transparent; about 4 minutes.
  3. Add in the rice and stir often until it begins to smell nutty and the edges of the rice are translucent; about 4 more minutes.
  4. Ladle in enough broth mixture to barely cover the rice. Cook uncovered until most of the liquid has been absorbed – only a very small amount should remain on the bottom. Gently stir every two or three minutes to ensure even absorption and no sticking.
  5. Ladle in more broth to cover just the surface of the rice and repeat until you’ve used up all of the broth or until the rice is tender, but still slightly chewy. It should be firmer than conventionally cooked rice.
  6. While the risotto cooks, heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add in 2 tablespoons of butter, sliced mushrooms, a heavy pinch of salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Stirring often, cook until mushrooms are golden brown and reduced in size; about 7 minutes.
  7. Once rice is al dente, gently stir in nutritional yeast, lemon zest, nutmeg, a few grinds of black pepper and cooked mushrooms. Taste and add more salt if needed. Serve while fresh for the best experience!
  8. Many people say risotto is only good when it’s fresh, but I think it makes great leftovers. Simply store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days and reheat in a medium pot with a lid on over medium-low heat, with a few splashes of fresh broth to loosen it up. Stir often to break up chunks of rice and distribute the broth – enjoy when it’s warmed up.

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