Vegan Recipe: Wild Mushroom and Artichoke Risotto

Fancy dried mushrooms combine with baby bellas and marinated artichokes to produce an earthy and tangy risotto more than capable of standing up to any traditional version. 

1 pint baby bella mushrooms, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
1/3 cup fancy dried mushrooms, diced (such as chanterelles and morels)
1 small jar marinated artichoke hearts
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup arborio rice
2 shallots, diced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 1/2 tbls salt
2 tsps black pepper
2 tsps dry thymeI got a large bag of 'chef's blend' fancy dried mushrooms on amazon. It's great for adding umami depth to broths and sauces. 

A mushroom risotto is awesome with just humble mushrooms, but add some more exotic ones as well, and you've really got something. 

Normally I'll use tomato for acid in a risotto, but this time I went with artichokes. I love artichokes. They offer a unique flavor and texture that creates an entirely different risotto experience. I know there is a certa…

Vegan Risotto with Avocado Pesto

Risotto doesn't really require any adjustments to be vegan. Rice is already vegan. Just use vegetable broth instead of animal broth. One thing to keep in mind though, is that vegetable broth tends to have a stronger flavor than chicken broth. It's best to use a some broth/some water approach when cooking risotto with veggie broth.

Ingredients for the Risotto:

1 1/2 cups arborrio rice
1 can vegetable broth (room temperature)
1 broth can worth of water
1 Tbl vegan margarine
1 Tbl olive oil
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 a medium onion diced
4 cloves chopped garlic
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup frozen red/green bell peppers
1/2 cup frozen mustard greens
basil and pepper to season

In a large, high sides frying pan heat olive and butter. When it just starts to make noise add onions and saute for two minutes. Add greens and peppers and saute two minutes more. Add garlic and dry rice. Cook two more minutes to toast the rice.

Risotto purists suggest heating your broth/wine/water in a sauce pan before adding any to your rice. I have tried it both ways and can discern no difference. Just don't use cold liquids and you'll be fine. We're not running a four star restaurant here. We just want our risotto to taste good and it will.

Add 1/3 of the can of broth. Stir often and cook until most of the liquid is absorbed. Continue in this fashion for the remainder of the broth. When most of that liquid is gone add all your wine and 1/2 your water.

When that too is mostly absorbed taste the rice to determine if it needs more liquid/cooking time. When done risotto should be kinda soft and creamy. If not done add a little more wine or water and test often for doneness.

Keep in mind if you're going to eat the risotto right away you'll want it done all the way through. However, if you're cooking it in advance and plan on storing it in the fridge for a while, you should leave it slightly underdone with a little bit of liquid still left. This will absorb as it sits in the fridge.

Once your risotto is finished cooking, kill the heat, but keep the pan on the hot burner. Add your peas and stir to combine. The residual heat with defrost the peas so they are still firm and not mushy.

Finally add your basil and pepper to your taste.

Now for the coup de gras. We will top our lovely risotto dish with an avacado pesto style sauce.

Avacado Pesto Ingredients:

1 avocado
zest and juice of one lemon
extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
basil, salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients except oil. Whisk, blend or process until you have a smooth paste. Slowly whisk/blend in olive oil until you get your desired consistency. The consistency is really a matter of preference. But if you want it to mix well through the warm risotto aim for a fairly dense viscosity. It will thin out some when warmed.

To serve top a bowl/plate full of risotto with 1 or 2 spoonfuls of avacado sauce and stir until evenly distributed.