I remember the first time I tried risotto. I was completely amazed at this savoury rice pudding-like dish. I was hooked instantly and couldn’t wait to have more. Once I learned how to make it, it became a regular in my meal planning. It also happens to be one of the few foods my children will eat consistently, and it can be a very budget conscious meal, which is why it has stayed so popular in our household. I have recently switched over to using vermouth in lieu of white wine, as recommended by Nigella Lawson in one of her risotto recipes. I find it does a remarkably similar job and also means I no longer have to sacrifice a serving of my wine to the cooking process!
This recipe can be easily doubled and also freezes well. It can also be dressed up or down to suit your needs. I have used button mushrooms, added a little truffle oil or even substituted the herbs and mushrooms for lemon zest & juice with a bit of soya cream (you could use cream too) to make it something completely different.
- 200g (1 cup) Arborio Rice
- 2 Garlic Cloves
- 2 Shallots
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 125 ml (1/2 cup) Dry Vermouth (or White Wine)
- 2 pints (4 cups) Vegetable Stock
- 150g (2 cups) Mushrooms (assorted or a mix of shiitake, oyster, morel and button)
- 15g (2 Tbsp) Fresh Herbs (5g of each; Basil, Thyme and Flat-leaf Parsley)
- 2 Tbsp Butter
- 30g (1/4 cup) Parmesan cheese, grated
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Begin by sautéing the mushrooms in a little olive oil and one minced garlic clove until cooked. Season with salt and pepper and then set aside.
Mince one of the cloves of garlic (reserving the other for the mushrooms) and both shallots in a food processor. Add the mixture along with the oil and rice into a medium-sized saucepan and give it a stir, ensuring the rice is coated with oil. Gently sauté, stirring occasionally, until the rice grains have become transparent. De-glaze the pan with the vermouth/wine whilst stirring the rice as it gets absorbed.
Slowly add in stock, one ladle at a time until each has been absorbed (see picture). Keep adding the stock and stirring until the risotto is soft and the grains still retains a slight ‘bite’. You may not end up using all the stock.
Remove from the heat and add the butter and parmesan and stir until the butter has melted in. Before serving add the chopped herbs and mushrooms, and season to taste.
- Although I have suggested cooking the mushrooms first (for ease), I usually have this all ready and sauté whilst I am finishing up the risotto. This way I find I am not worried about them getting cold before serving.
- If you would like to make this vegan, you can easily substitute the butter at the end with a little olive oil and the parmesan for a vegan parmesan.