ever since i enjoyed a most delicious risotto a few months ago while in amsterdam, i was determined to try to make it myself. i have heard people complain about the tedious nature of preparing risotto properly, but wasn't particularly turned off by that :) at a friend's going away party, i met the husband of one of my work friends. this gentleman, steve, just so happens to be a chef! one conversation about tomatoes led to another and i picked his brain about risotto. he was kind enough to offer up the following advice:
1. use vegetable stock in lieu of chicken
2. use arborio rice
3. add broth, reduce, repeat, and at the end, add your seasoning and such
i picked up the appropriate ingredients over the past 2 weeks, and finally gave it a go last evening. i scoured a few recipes online to get an idea for how much broth i would need, and i settled on planning for 8 cups. i also opted for store-bought organic veg stock this time, but intend to make my own in the future.
8 C veg stock
1.5 C arborio rice
2 C baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1/3 C parmesan cheese, grated
2 tsp minced garlic
4 tbsp butter (room temperature)
black pepper, freshly ground
1. warm the veg stock in a sauce pan, and keep it on low heat
2. heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, saute mushrooms until they soften, scoop mixture out into dish and keep to the side until the end
3. heat 1-2 tbsp olive oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat; saute the garlic, and add the rice
4. stir the rice continuously for 5 minutes, or stop once lightly browned
5. add veg stock, 1 ladle-full at a time, stir the mixture continuously until broth has been fully absorbed (do not let the mixture stick to the bottom of the skillet)
6. repeat step 5 over an over again, until the rice is al dente (approximately 20-30 minutes) - sample often :-) you'll notice the mixture becoming more and more starchy, which is a good indication that you are nearing the end
TIP: if you need to take a break, simply remove the skillet from burner (briefly), the come back and pick up where you left off
7. remove skillet from heat. add butter, parmesan cheese, ground pepper (to taste). mix thoroughly. add mushrooms.
plate it up, and top with a bit of parsley or basil, and serve!!
it serves 5-6 people, and overall (with prep and cook time) required approximately 45 minutes.
**vegan potential - just omit the parmesan cheese, and replace butter with vegan butter!!!