I absolutely LOVE a good risotto. If you follow my easy steps, you will never be disappointed, guaranteed.
I’ve been served many a risotto from awful to mediocre, at best. The problem is that people try to par-make it, park it, then finish it. I’ve never had success with it. Although it is truly quite simple to make, once you start, you are committed for 20-25 minutes. You cannot walk away. That’s the hardest part about making risotto, honest! You just have to stay put in front of that stove, stirring constantly for those 20 minutes, and you will be rightly rewarded.
Once you get the hang of this basic recipe, change it up. Change the broth, change the veggies, adjust the herbs, and you will have a completely different risotto, much to your satisfaction. Oh, there’s even a black rice that acts very much like risotto. When you cook it up, it turns more of a purple-like hue.
Oh, and don’t forget to make a double batch! I’ll explain why later.
But for now, on to Mushroom Risotto….
10 ounces baby bella or porcini mushrooms chopped fine
3-3/4-4 cups mushroom broth
4 tablespoons vegan butter
¾ cup finely chopped onion
1 cup Arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine (if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it, please. You’re meal will only be as good as the ingredients you put into it)
1/3 cup soy or almond milk
1/3 cup Follow Your Heart Shredded Parmesan
1-1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (your choice, such as basil, parsley, cilantro, thyme, chives)
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- In a sauté, saute mushrooms until cooked. Remove and set aside.
- In a pan, bring the mushroom broth to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer.
- In a large saucepan, melt the vegan butter and sauté the onion until translucent. Do not carmelize.
- Add rice, stir to coat, and continue stirring until rice become slightly fragrant.
- Continue stirring, do not stop. Add ½ broth at a time, allowing the liquid to reduce completely before adding in the next ½ cup of broth. I know, I’m tempted myself to do so, but please do not add additional liquid until the last batch is reduced. By doing so, you are pulling the starch out of the rice, which is what makes the risotto creamy and silky. You just want to make sure that you don’t burn the risotto, which should not happen if you are using a heavy-bottomed saucepan, and YOU KEEP STIRRING CONSTANTLY. (I know, I sound like a broken record by now, but that is the most important tip for successful, never-fail risotto.)
- Cook until the rice is tender, which should take about 20 minutes and use up all the broth.
- Add the mushrooms, milk, parmesan, herbs, salt, and pepper, continuing to stir until liquid is absorbed and risotto is creamy.
- Serve immediately.
- You can garnish with additional herbs, a dollop or vegan butter, a drizzle of really good olive oil, and/or some additional Parmesan cheese.
Now, I do hope you remembered to double your batch, or that you have leftovers. If you doubled your batch, this following recipe is an exact continuation. If you are using leftovers, you just need to adjust the following ingredients proportionately to your leftover risotto. But this is not an exact science, so you’ll be fine whatever you do.
ARANCINI (Italian Rice Balls)
This is a classic follow-up to risotto. Adding a couple of ingredients to your risotto, forming balls, frying them, and serving with your favorite gravy (Italian tomato sauce), and you will be a hit. Make them bite-size or the size of a golf-ball. I’ve even seen them as large as a baseball, but honestly, I think they become gummy and not as appealing as the smaller ones. Serve with the gravy as a dipping sauce, and you’ll be the hit of any dinner party.
1 batch of risotto (if it’s leftover and out of the refrigerator, warm it slightly)
6 tablespoons VeganEgg mixed with 3/4 cup ice cold water, separated by 1/3 and 2/3 of mixture
1/3 cup shredded vegan mozzarella (or other vegan cheese, but mozzarella is classic)
1/3 cup finely-chopped vegan deli slices (ham or pepperoni would be classic, but any except bologna would do)
½ cup flour
1 cup dry Italian bread crumbs
Italian Gravy (tomato sauce)
- Chill risotto for at least one hour before proceeding to the next step.
- Toss the mozzarella and deli slices together and set aside.
- Combine risotto and 1/3 VeganEgg mixture until thoroughly combined.
- Using a small scoop or a large spoon, scoop out about 3 tablespoon risotto and place in the palm of your hand, making a ball.
- In the center of the ball, put a depression and stuff the center with some of the mozzarella/deli slice mixture. Press closed and reform back into a ball.
- Continue this process until all balls are formed.
- At this point, I find it helpful to allow the balls to be refrigerated for 15 minutes to set back up, although it is not necessary.
- Create your dipping station by placing the flour in one bowl, the remaining 2/3 VeganEgg mixture in a second bowl, and the bread crumbs in a third bowl. I find that bowls work best to coat the arancini balls.
- Dredge an arancini ball in the flour, lightly dust off, then into the beaten egg, then coat with bread crumbs.
- Repeat this process for all the balls.
- Again, I find it helps to refrigerate the balls for 15 minutes; however, it is not necessary. If you are preparing these for a party, you can prepare up to this point up to a day in advance, then finish by frying just before serving.
- You now have a choice of deep frying or using the air fryer. Either way, you will have love the results.
- If you are going to deep fry, you want enough oil to cover the balls. Use a pot that is deep enough so that when you put the arancini in the pot, it doesn’t boil over. Remember that oil expands when heated, and when you drop food into it, it bubbles up. Preheat your oil to 360 degrees Fahrenheit. Doing only a couple of balls at a time in batched, fry the balls until they are evenly browned. You may have to roll them over. This should take about 2 minutes. Remove from the oil, and drain on a wire rack that is placed inside a cookie sheet to collect the dripping oil.
- If you are going to use an air fryer, preheat the fryer to 360 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly spritz each arancini ball with olive oil. In batches without crowding in a single layer, fry arancini balls for 3-5 minutes, until golden on the outside.
- Serve immediately with Italian gravy.
*An important aspect of sharing original recipes is to give proper credit to the author(s) of the recipe(s). I hope that you enjoy using these recipes and making them your own; but please do so with that integrity in mind. With much gratitude. Linda