Mushroom Risotto

Posted by on Nov 14, 2011 in entrées, Italian, Recipes | No Comments

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I love me some fungus! Mushrooms have become an important part of my vegan diet since they have so many wonderful health benefits. About 1/3 of their dry weight is protein and they’re a great source of b vitamins and minerals.

Mushrooms are also a sustainable food, seeing as they can be grown in large quantities with limited space and resources. Since mushrooms aren’t plants (which use photosynthesis to convert sunlight into energy), they pull nutrients from other sources. Agricultural and organic waste can be recycled and used for this purpose. Oyster mushrooms, for example, can be grown on newspaper, cardboard, straw, coffee grinds or cottonseed hulls. Shiitake mushrooms can thrive on different kinds of forest waste and wood. Once the mushrooms have exhausted all of the nutrients from their medium, the materials can then be composted and used on other plant crops. Awesome! I may try to grow some of my own mushrooms soon, but for now I’m happy to support the cultivation of mushrooms by local organic farmers.

Ingredients:

7 cups vegetable stock (preferably homemade)
4 cups mixed wild mushrooms (I used Cremini, Shiitake and Oyster) roughly chopped or sliced
1 1/4 cups Arborio rice (DO NOT RINSE)
1 cup leeks, white and light green parts only, finely chopped
1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 tbsp soy butter
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
5 tbsp apple juice *
2 tbsp white wine vinegar *
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
Truffle oil, for drizzling
Fresh parsley, finely chopped, for garnish

* I used a combination of apple juice and vinegar to substitute for white wine, but if you want to make this dish with wine, use about 1/2 cup.

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First, heat the vegetable stock in a large sauce pan over medium heat. I usually add in an extra 1/2 cup or so in case some of the liquid evaporates before I get to use it.

In a large saute pan, heat 2 tbsp of soy butter over medium heat. Add about 1 cup of mushrooms, or just enough so that they don’t crowd the pan. You want to make sure that all of the mushrooms brown evenly, so they all need to have enough room to cook directly on the surface of the pan. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until they’ve all browned evenly. Remove the mushrooms, place on a dish and set aside. Repeat this process until all of the mushrooms are cooked (I did this in 4 batches.)

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Wipe the saute pan clean with a towel to remove any debris, then heat the remaining soy butter (1 1/2 tbsp) and olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the chopped leeks and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.

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Increase the heat on the vegetable stock to medium-high.

Increase the heat of the leeks to medium and add in the rice. Toss to coat and cook until the rice starts to become translucent around the edges, about 5 minutes. Add in the apple juice and white wine vinegar, then stir vigorously until the liquid is absorbed. Add in about 3/4 cup of the vegetable stock and again, stir until the liquid is almost completely absorbed. Continue adding the vegetable stock (3/4 cup at a time) and stirring until the liquid is just about absorbed, for about 10 minutes.

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At this point, the rice should be about half way done. Add in the browned mushrooms along with 3/4 cup vegetable stock and continue stirring until the liquid is almost all absorbed. Continue the process of adding in stock and stirring, for about 10 more minutes, or until the rice is cooked. Season with sea salt and pepper.

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Serve each portion with a drizzle of truffle oil and a bit of chopped parsley. I also added a few pea tendrils as well.

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