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Wild Mushroom Risotto (And It’s Vegan!)

Risotto is one of those intimidating dishes that’s actually really simple. What makes it scary is that a recipe won’t really help you because so much of the process depends on instinct and feel. But the basic concept is taking a high-starch grain (traditionally Arborio rice) and toasting it in oil so that it maintains its shape during the slow cooking process. Then, you allow the grains to gradually absorb stock, one cup at a time, until they’ve released their starches and become tender.

When entertaining guests, you should follow this process until the grains are al dente with just a little bit of bite. Then right before your guests arrive, or while everyone is drinking wine, finish it off with the last cup of stock. You don’t want the dish to be heavy or gluey. There should be a good amount of liquid left at the end of the process so that the risotto spreads out on a plate instead of perching like a hockey puck in the middle of it.

The key to creating an uber flavorful vegan mushroom risotto is all in the variety of mushrooms chosen and the quality of the stock. If you can, add some of the trimmed mushroom stems to your stock and simmer for a few hours to create extra umami.

𝗣𝗿𝗲𝗽 𝗧𝗶𝗺𝗲 𝟭𝟬 𝗺𝗶𝗻𝘂𝘁𝗲𝘀
𝗖𝗼𝗼𝗸 𝗧𝗶𝗺𝗲 𝟯𝟱 𝗺𝗶𝗻𝘂𝘁𝗲𝘀
𝗧𝗼𝘁𝗮𝗹 𝗧𝗶𝗺𝗲 𝟰𝟱 𝗺𝗶𝗻𝘂𝘁𝗲𝘀

𝗜𝗡𝗚𝗥𝗘𝗗𝗜𝗘𝗡𝗧𝗦 – 𝟰 𝘀𝗲𝗿𝘃𝗶𝗻𝗴𝘀

• 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil divided

• 1 1/4 pound mixed wild mushrooms cremini, Portobello, shitake, chanterelle, oyster or maitake, cleaned, stems trimmed, and chopped

• 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary

• Sea salt

• 1 medium fennel bulb finely diced

• 1 medium leek white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced

• 2 garlic cloves minced

• 1 cup Arborio rice

• ½ cup dry white wine

• 1 quart vegetable stock

• 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives for garnish

𝗜𝗡𝗦𝗧𝗥𝗨𝗖𝗧𝗜𝗢𝗡𝗦

1. In a large Dutch oven or saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over a medium-high flame. Sauté the mushrooms until nicely browned and their liquid has been released, about 5 minutes. Add the rosemary and season generously with salt. Cook one minute more. Remove the mushroom mixture to a bowl.

2. Add the remaining olive oil to the pan and sauté the fennel and leeks over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, one minute more. Stir in the rice and toast until the edges are opaque and the center pearly white, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and 1 teaspoon sea salt to the pan, scraping up any brown bits, and cook until reduced by half.

3. Meanwhile, heat the stock in the microwave or on the stove until warm, but not scalding.

4. Add 1 cup of the stock to the pan. Bring to a simmer, then turn the heat down to medium low and gently cook until nearly absorbed. Repeat this process, adding stock by ½ cup measures, until the rice is tender, about 25 minutes. You want the risotto to be loose enough that it will spread on a plate, so add more stock as necessary so it’s not gloppy. Stir in the reserved mushrooms and half the chives. Taste for seasoning. Garnish with the remaining chives and serve immediately.

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