Ahh, risotto. Creamy, luxurious, and incredibly satisfying, this dish is a quintessential classic. There are many different variations out there and one of the more popular combinations is with mushrooms and peas. Sounds good to me! In my vegan rendition, since we are not adding any dairy cheese or cream, I like to create a strong depth of flavor with mustard and miso (a trick I learned while working as a server in a restaurant in NYC). The tang from the mustard and cheesiness from the miso works wonders for the creamy rice known as 'Arborio'. My other secret weapon is rosemary. This powerful herb offers a very strong savory flavor that is earthy and robust. It works beautifully with rice and mushrooms. In regards to risotto, I think people are intimidated, but I am here to prove to all of you that it's really not that bad! Matter of fact, it's quite simple. The most important ingredient is time. Instead of cooking the grains in one large amount of water all at the same time, you slowly add it, little by little. The rice slowly absorbs the liquid and the result is a luxuriously creamy dish. The key here is to only add a warm liquid so that it cooks perfectly. That’s why you heat up the vegetable broth before cooking. As for the veggies, I like to add asparagus and blanched fava beans for a nice crunch and variation in texture, but you could add whatever vegetables you like. Frozen peas work beautifully! When making this dish, I recommend serving it immediately as that’s when it’s best. A crusty piece of bread works as the perfect vehicle to help scrape the sides of bowl- just sayin’.
Rosemary Mushroom Risotto
Serves 4 to 6, gluten free
8 cups vegetable broth (low- or no-sodium)
3 tablespoons vegan butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms caps, packed
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons minced rosemary
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 ½ cups arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
1 ½ tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 ½ tablespoon mellow white miso
Vegan parmesan, shredded, to taste
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
1 to 2 cups frozen peas
1 cup fava beans, blanched and peeled
1 to 2 cups asparagus tips, raw
1. Add broth to a small pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, cover and set aside.
2. Melt butter over medium heat, then add olive oil, mushrooms, onions, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté for 5 minutes until onions are soft. Add garlic, rosemary, nutritional yeast and arborio rice. Stirring often, cook for an additional 3-4 minutes until garlic is soft and rice is toasted. Add the wine, mustard, and miso and mix well. Cook for a few more minutes until the wine has evaporated, stirring frequently so the bottom doesn’t burn.
3. Once the wine is evaporated, add 1 cup of warm broth to the rice mixture. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the broth is absorbed. Repeat this step, adding the broth in 1 cup increments, until risotto becomes thick and creamy. This should take about 20-30 minutes. If the risotto seems done, give it a taste and you will know. The rice should be chewy, firm, yet tender. You may not use all of the broth and that’s ok. Don’t have a meltdown.
4. At this point, you can fold in whatever vegetables you are using along with the shredded vegan parm. Give it a taste and season with salt and pepper to your liking. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the asparagus is tender and the peas are bright green. Remove from heat and serve immediately.
To garnish, I like to fry up some additional sliced mushrooms to place on top, as well as some blanched vegetables (especially peas!). That’s because I’m a food stylist and I want it to look extra pretty. You totally don’t have to do this! But if you’d like to impress someone, I suggest that you do. ;)