12 ounces arborio rice (approximately 1 3/4 cups)
1 large sweet onion, finely chopped (approximately 1 to 1 1/2 cups)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced (cremini, portabella, or oyster recommended)
4 dried shiitake mushroom caps
5-6 cups light vegetable stock
1-2 cups dry white wine (optional; can use additional veg. stock)
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (or desired amount to taste)
2 tablespoon vegan butter (or additional olive oil, desired amount to taste, I use Earth Balance)
1-2 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes (optional)
freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
sea salt, to taste
2 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped
2 tablespoon mixed fresh herbs, chopped (I use parsley, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, and sage)
additional vegan butter or olive oil, to taste (optional)
1. Simmer the dried shiitake caps in the vegetable stock until completely tender. This takes approximately 15 minutes for me. Once tender, remove with a slotted spoon, discard stems (if attached), and slice thinly. Set shiitakes aside. Strain the stock through a coffee filter or other fine filter if necessary to remove any mushroom grit. Return to a clean pot and set to simmer, covered, on a back burner.
2. In a very large lidded saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon vegan butter and saute fresh mushrooms just until tender. When done, remove with a slotted spoon to a separate plate, leaving the flavored oil and mushroom liquid in the pan.
3. Add remaining oil and margarine to the pan. When hot, add diced onion and saute until translucent and softened. Add the dry arborio rice, garlic, and reconstituted, sliced shiitakes. Continue to saute for another minute. Liberally grind fresh black pepper in to taste, grate in your nutmeg (I use a Microplane zester), and season with salt (be very careful not to oversalt if your stock is salted) and nutritional yeast.
3. In very small batches, add the wine (or stock) to the onions, rice, shiitakes, and garlic to deglaze the pan and begin to soften the rice. Stir constantly while incorporating the liquid; this will provide a creamy consistency. Once the wine is absorbed, begin adding the hot shiitake-vegetable stock, one ladle at a time. I keep the simmering pot of stock on the back burner and the risotto pan on the front burner and simply ladle the broth in directly. Again, the secret to ideal risotto texture is to add this very hot liquid very slowly while stirring the entire time.
4. The amount of liquid you need to add to the rice will vary depending on how hot your pan is, the age and character of your rice, and so forth. Tere is a chance you may need more liquid on hand. The rice is done when it has a creamy soft, exterior but still some bite/chewiness to the interior. When you've finished cooking the rice and adding all liquid (wine and stock), fold in the cooked fresh mushrooms and chopped fresh herbs and stir over low heat for another two minutes.
5. Correct the seasoning with additional salt and/or pepper, to taste. If desired, stir in additional vegan butter and/or olive oil, to taste, for increased richness and creaminess. Serve immediately, garnished with additional fresh herbs. I like to accompany the risotto with a crusty bread and a crisp salad with a tart vinaigrette to balance out the richness of the rice.
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This recipe is highly adaptable. Some ideas for variation and notes on flavor:
Use whatever type of onion you prefer, or substitute some shallots and/or leeks (use white and very pale green parts only).
Vary the type of fresh mushrooms used, or use a mixture. Brown domestics (cremini and portabella) and fresh oyster mushrooms are the most affordable flavorful types where I am, but anything fancier would be delicious, depending on your budget and/or foraging ability.
Vegetable stock can be replaced with hot water and an appropriate amount of vegetable broth concentrate or bouillon for convenience, as long as the liquid is tasty on its own (the flavor will be prominent in this recipe). Opt for reduced sodium varieties if possible.
Use a different type of wine to your taste, or substitute additional stock. Nonalcoholic wine is acceptable.
Use any combination of flavorful oil and margarine desired. Earth Balance and a rich extra-virgin olive is my favorite.
The nutritional yeast flakes are optional but provide a parmesan-like quality to the finished dish. Any vegan parmesan-style substitute could be used instead, or this could be omitted entirely.
Vary the herbs according to availability. I just go through my herb garden and pick whatever looks good. Suggestions include tarragon, sage, parsley, marjoram, thyme, and rosemary.
Instead of finishing the dish with the optional Earth Balance or olive oil, truffle oil would be a delicious addition if you have some on hand (or can afford it).
Source of recipe: Experimentation.