I may not be an expert on risotto, every time I make it I imagine Gordon Ramsey yelling at me. The truth is that I’ve never had risotto made by a professional chef so I have nothing to compare mine against. That being said, the theory of slow cooking rice to sumptuous perfection is relatively easy: just follow the steps. Adding vegetable stock in increments ensures that the rice absorbs all of the flavor and it’s not hard to do; you just have to keep an eye on it all times.
I like to make this dish for omni friends because it signifies a special meal, lovingly made and it’s traditional feel keeps the focus on the food rather than our dietary choices. I made this for my boyfriend on Valentine’s day and I made it again earlier this summer when an old friend came to visit. The time I take to make this risotto is the care I put into my food, it makes it that much more enjoyable, especially when more often than not accompanied with a bottle of crisp white wine. This is a dish that begs for wine, wine is in the recipe, you’ve already opened a bottle so why not enjoy the pairing. The glass of wine calls for relaxation and conversation which are the main reasons I love this recipe.
I made my own version of Jamie Oliver’s mushroom risotto because the flavors and ingredients are flexible and the secret ingredient is a game changer for the usually heavy flavors of risotto, adding a lightness to it that you never knew was there. Hint: the secret ingredient is lemon juice.
Grilled Mushroom Risotto
Makes 4-6 servings
6 1/2 cups vegetable stock (you can mix in some mushroom stock for a more earthy flavor)
1 handful dried porcini mushrooms
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 sticks celery, trimmed and finely chopped
2 cups risotto rice
75 ml white wine (preferably pinot grigio, if you’re planning on drinking the rest of the bottle with dinner keep that in the fridge)
sea salt (optional to substitute with truffle salt)
pepper (preferably freshly ground)
4-5 cups wild mushrooms (try shiitake, oyster, and portobello), cleaned and sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons italian parsley, chopped
juice of one lemon
1 teaspoon vegan butter
Optional: 2 tablespoons vegan parmesan
Heat stock in a saucepan and keep it on a low simmer. Keep covered when not using. Place the dried porcini in a bowl and pour just enough hot veggie stock to cover. A few minutes later when the mushrooms have softened, remove the mushrooms and give them a rough chop. Reserve the soaking liquid.
Heat the olive oil in a large pan on the lower end of medium heat and add the onion and celery. Cook the veggies for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently to keep them from browning. Turn heat up and add rice, stirring a few times. Stir in the white wine and keep stirring until the liquid has cooked into the rice. Strain the porcini soaking liquid through a sieve and add to the pan. Then add the porcini, a pinch of salt, and the first ladle of the hot stock. Turn the heat down to a simmer and stir. Keep adding ladlefuls of stock to the pan one at a time, slowly stirring and allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. After about 30 minutes the rice should be soft but with a slight bite.
Take the risotto off the heat and season it to taste. Stir in the vegan butter and parmesan. The texture should be creamy, if needed add a bit more stock. Put a lid on the pan and leave the risotto to relax for about 3 minutes.
Get a dry griddle or pan hot and grill the mushrooms. Then toss them in a bowl with the parsley, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. Serve the risotto topped with a large spoonful of the grilled mushrooms and watch your guests melt with enjoyment. You can also finish with a drizzle of olive oil or even better, mushroom steeped olive oil or truffle oil.