Mushroom Risotto

Properly gloopy risotto, works on its own or as a side with grilled/roast pork or lamb chops (stuffed or with a crust, I wouldn’t team with a creamy sauce, even though this risotto doesn’t contain cheese, they sort of slide into each other in an unattractive manner).

For a vegetarian, I would make this with vegetable stock, using slightly less liquid, then use a ring to form a neat circle and serve alongside something colourful such as roasted pepper halves filled with garlic and tomato and salad with a grainy mustardy dressing, or use the risotto to stuff a huge mushroom, top with cubes of toasted bread and veggie cheese and serve with brocolli with sesame seeds and a drizzle of sesame oil and sweetcorn with lemon and butter.

I used to be vegetarian, I got very bored with everyone serving a ‘mixed up’ dish e.g. pasta whilst  omnivore got separate things on the plate and could have a taste of this and that or a mixture of the items on their plates – it’s called palate fatigue, taste buds get bored when every mouthful tastes the same – be kind to your veggie friends – and eat with them – if you make them delicious food, you’ll enjoy it too

I think for a vegan recipe version of the vegetarian ones; so long as you replace the butter with a suitable alternative and check the ingredients for the bread and mustard you’ll be OK.

Ingredients

Arborio or other short grained rice

Stock – chicken or vegetable – homemade would obviously be fab, but bought is fine.

Cube or powder will do, but be careful of the salt content, I’m a salt fan, but even I find they can overpower. Also watch out for any containing ‘salt substitutes’, in my experience they can be even more overpowering! Actually if you only have cube or powder stock to hand, I would rather use water with a small slosh of vinegar: cider or wine or sherry (or the non-vinegar originals), a teaspoon or so of grainy mustard and a little soy sauce or worcestershire sauce  (check the  ingredients if doing the veggie version)

Onions -chopped finely

Garlic – chopped finely

Mushrooms – chopped into small chunks (not too tiny, not too chunky – maybe half a centimetre in all directions) – chestnut or supermarket economy will be lovely, if money stretched and you can find them, any tasty fairly robust ones will be delicious.

Oil, salt, crushed black pepper

Method

Heat oil in large, deep-frying pan (or wok, but you’ll have to stir more assiduously as the surface area in contact with the heat is much smaller)

Put onions and garlic in pan and cook until onions are soft – Medium heat (keep this for rest of recipe, should be barely sizzly for this stage and barley bubbling for stock adding stage)

Heat stock to near boiling – don’t do this too far in advance as it’s best if it’s still hot or at least warm when you use it

Add mushrooms; stir and cook for a few minutes

Add rice.  Stir into all the other ingredients and keep stirring to ensure that the rice is covered with oil and is all shiny and glistening (add a splosh more oil if necessary)

Add first ladle of stock – around half a mug (if you’ve got a flat-ish ladle put two in or put stock in a jug and pour approximately the same amount in). Stir and stir until when you draw the spoon along the botton of the pan you get a clear path for a moment before the risotto seeps back in again (Red Sea Moment – hereafter RSM)

Add second lot of stock (see above for quantities), keep stirring gently so that the rice isn’t smashed up, but is gently roughed to absorb the stock until the RSM

Keep repeating (waiting for RSM) until all the stock is added, you should be getting a creamy looking rice which keeps the RSM

Now’s the time to taste – if your rice is hard and horrible add more liquid, if you’ve finished the stock, water will do, or water and wine

The whole stock and stirring thing will take 20-30 minutes, you do need to stir frequently after the first couple of stock additions – thereafter, you do need to be in the kitchen, but can be preparing other things and stirring the risotto only every five or six minutes

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