Several hundred years ago, rice was introduced into the Lombardy Region of Northern Italy, and a classic dish that originates from Italy is Risotto.
According to Wikipedia:
There are many different risotto recipes with different ingredients, but they are all based on rice of an appropriate variety, cooked in a standard procedure.
The rice is first cooked briefly in a soffritto of onion and butter or olive oil to coat each grain in a film of fat, called tostatura; white or red wine is added and has to be absorbed by the grains. When it has evaporated, the heat is raised to medium high and very hot stock is gradually added in small amounts while stirring gently, almost constantly: stirring loosens the starch molecules from the outside of the rice grains into the surrounding liquid, creating a smooth creamy-textured liquid. At that point it is taken off the heat for the mantecatura when diced cold butter is vigorously stirred in to make the texture as creamy and smooth as possible. It may be removed from the heat a few minutes earlier, and left to cook with its residual heat.
Properly cooked risotto is rich and creamy but still with some resistance or bite: al dente, and with separate grains. The traditional texture is fairly fluid, or all’onda (“wavy, or flowing in waves”). It is served on flat dishes and it should easily spread out but not have excess watery liquid around the perimeter. It must be eaten at once as it continues to cook in its own heat and can become too dry with the grains too soft.
A basic Risotto can be flavoured in a variety of ways, traditionally there is:
Risotto alla Zucca flavoured with pumpkin, nutmeg and cheese…. or Risotto ai Funghi, flavoured with a variety of mushrooms, or Risotto al Barolo, with Borlotti Beans.
It is a dish that once accomplished, is open to all sorts of new and interesting flavours, and therefore a brilliant addition to a vegan recipe repertoire.
Here’s how to make a great basic risotto….and how you adapt it is up to you.
For example: chopped olives…. or diced ‘n’ fried tempeh or tofu and peas …. or sliced avocado …. or pine nuts and raisins….or handfuls of chopped fresh herbs…. or grated beetroot …. or ???
A Risotto only takes little over half-an-hour to cook, but it does need almost constant attention…..
SERVED WITH SAUTÉED AND STEAMED ASPARAGUS, BABY SWEETCORN AND COURGETTE
- 160gms. risotto rice (there are different types with different qualities -I used Carnaroli)
- 1 large onion
- 1 glass dry white wine ( about 120ml.)
- 25ml. olive oil
- 500ml. hot vegetable stock
- 25gms. good quality vegan spread
- vegan grateable cheese …vegan parmesan if poss…
- 100gms. asparagus
- 100gms. baby sweet corn
- 120gms. courgette
- 2tbs. olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 100ml. hot vegetable stock
- 10gms. fresh basil
- grated vegan cheese
- Prepare vegetables:
- Wash and slice baby sweetcorn into rounds about 0.5cm. thick
- Wash and dice courgette no more than 1cm square.
- Wash and trim asparagus, and cut stalks into three.
- Slice garlic.
- Peel and finely chop onion.
- Wash rice.
- In a deep casserole, on a medium heat, place 25ml. olive oil.
- Lightly sauté chopped onion. Allow the onion to soften without burning. 8 mins.
- Add washed rice to sautéing onions. Continue to sauté on a low-med. heat.
- The rice will begin to look slightly transparent. Stir gently but constantly to avoid burning. About 8 mins.
- Add white wine.
- Continue to stir gently and regularly as rice absorbs liquid.
- Prepare hot stock : 600 ml. (500ml. for risotto, 100ml. for steaming vegetables)
- When wine is absorbed (but risotto is not completely dry) add a ladleful of hot stock.
- Set timer for 15 mins. The risotto takes 20-25mins, and shouldn’t be over-cooked. The vegetables take about 10 mins.
- As stock is absorbed by rice, add more liquid, one ladleful at a time.
- The rice will start to look creamy.
When 15 minutes has gone by cook the vegetables, (while continuing to add stock to risotto):
- Place wide pan on medium heat and add 2 tbs. olive oil.
- Add garlic: saute 30 secs.
- Add all prepared vegetables and sauté on medium-high heat for 5mins.
- Turn to avoid burning.
- After 5 mins. Add 100ml. vegetable stock to vegetables, and cover.
- Reduce heat a little, allow vegetables to steam 5 -8 mins. until ‘al dente’.
- At this point add the last of the stock to the risotto. Continue to stir.
- When everything is just about done, add 25gms. vegan spread to the risotto and stir in.
- Then add 50 gms. finely grated cheese. Stir in.
- Scatter handful of chopped basil over risotto, and cover with a tight fitting lid.
- Switch off heat.
- Allow to stand for 2-3 mins.
Serve immediately, scattered with steamed vegetables, chopped basil and a little grated vegan-cheese.