Mushroom risotto will forever hold a dear place in my heart. Not only has it always been one of my favorite dishes, but it was also a star dish at my wedding. The hotel venue we chose for our reception actually has a designated chef who’s sole responsibility is to make heavenly delicious mushroom risotto. During our wedding, the DJ stopped the music and invited everyone to take a seat at their table when the risotto was served, so it could be eaten right away. A bit intense, I know. But that’s how seriously they take their risotto. It also goes to show just how seriously I take risotto, considering I went along with it.
I also thought the timing was pretty good since Valentine’s Day is tomorrow. And what could me more romantic then sharing a warm dish of creamy, rich, decadent risotto.
That being said, I have to say I have mixed emotions about Valentine’s Day. I like it and dislike it, for the exact same reasons.
I like the idea of having a single day dedicated to love and happiness. A day that brings us out of our routine and invites us to take a moment and remind the people in our lives that we love and care for them and that they are important to us.
I never though Valentine’s day was just for lovers/spouses/partners. I feel it’s a celebration of love for everyone in our lives: parents/friends/mentors… People that we share our lives with and who influence us in a positive way.
I also genuinely dislike Valentine’s Day because you have to show love on that one day. That one special day that is so commercialized and over advertised, making you feel like you need to do something special, and mostly extravagant, for that one person in your life. You can’t walk into any store right now and not be bombarded by expensive gift ideas, overpriced flowers, cards, chocolates… That, I don’t like.
Ok, rant over, back to my risotto.
Since I’ve never been a fan of going out for dinner on Valentine’s Day, I always try to make dinner a little extravagant. Jazz it up a little. Make it a little fancier without necessarily going overboard and leaving us with mounts of dishes to do afterwards.
Risotto fits that bill perfectly as it is rather simple to make and it only takes one dish. Or one pan to be exact.
Mushroom risotto also being such a beautiful reminder of our wedding, I felt it needed to be replicated this year.
The challenge was making it exclusively plant based while still getting that amazingly creamy mouth feel you get from a traditional risotto, that’s loaded with cream and parmesan cheese.
The secret is in the layers of flavours from the mushrooms. Umami.
From the rich mushroom broth used as the base of the risotto to the chunky pieces of portobello, porcini and white mushrooms sautéed in olive oil and garlic.
If you are pressed for time, you can buy already made mushroom broth in cube, powder form or even liquid form. But if you have a little extra time, I strongly suggest making your own mushroom broth. It’s easy and adds so much flavour to a dish.
My mushroom broth is a variation of Chef Michael White’s recipe over at Food & Wine. It is rich and flavourful and perfect for drinking on it’s own or in a recipe like this. The only differences are the addition of 2 more gloves of garlic (for 6 total gloves) and a 2 inch piece of ginger. I just love the added zing and brightness, ginger brings to the broth.
I also add a secret ingredient to my risotto. An ingredient that is not Italian at all. So this will be our little secret.
I add miso paste. Red miso paste. It gives this risotto so much flavour and an added boost of good for you nutrients.
Miso seems to bring out the umami even more in the mushrooms. I dissolve the miso paste in the mushroom broth before adding it to the rice. Amazing.
I promise, this mushroom risotto recipe won’t have you miss the heavy cream or the parmesan cheese.
If my Italian husband and his mom, gave it their seal of approval, I’m confident your family will enjoy it too.
The second key to a great risotto, after the stellar ingredients, is the cooking method. Risotto requires patience.
The liquid to rice ratio is anywhere between 1:3 to 1:4. I tend more towards the 1:4, because I find it gives a much creamier and smooth texture. So for each cup of arborio rice, I’ll add 4 cups of broth. You can also replace some of the broth with white wine. I choose not to because I feed this risotto to my toddler. But if you want to make this recipe for grown-ups only, you can easily replace 1/2 cup of broth with 1/2 cup of white wine.
When it comes time to cook my rice, I separate my broth in 4 parts, pouring only 1 cup at a time, stirring gently, waiting for all the broth to be absorbed before I add any more liquid.
I guess that’s why I consider this the perfect Valentine’s Day dish: it takes love, and time, and patience to make.
Leave me a comment and let me know how you guys have enjoyed this risotto.
- 4 Cups sliced mixed mushrooms (I used portobello, porcini and white mushrooms)
- 1 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 spanish onion, diced
- 2 Tbs. vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 Cup arborio rice
- 4 Cups mushroom broth
- 1 Tbs. red miso paste
- 1 tsp. fresh rosemary
- Freshly cracker black pepper
- Add the olive oil to a deep pan set over medium high heat.
- Add the mushrooms and sautée for 5 minutes.
- Remove the mushrooms from the pan, add a dash of salt and return the pan to the heat.
- Reduce to medium heat.
- Add the vegan butter and olive oil.
- Add the onion and cook for 3 mins.
- Add the miso paste to the broth and stir with a whisk to dissolve the paste.
- Add the arborio rice to the pan and stir to evenly coat the rice.
- Add 1 cup of broth at a time, stirring frequently until the liquid is completely absorbed before adding more broth.
- Risotto is done when the rice is still firm but cooked through and creamy, about 20 minutes.
- Stir in the fresh rosemary, mushrooms and black pepper.