We all have Sad Food, right? You know: the thing you make after a long day, or when you are feeling a little emotional? My go-to meal used to be pasta with butter and cheese. The healthier I get, the less I go for Sad Food, but I do really miss comfort foods like the glorious combination of cheese and carbs. I’m limiting my dairy to almost nothing these days, so that pile of pasta with cheese just isn’t happening.
I received a copy of Pure Vegan, one of the few vegan cookbook I’ve seen that isn’t focused on the politics of the vegan diet, but instead delivers amazing recipes that are simple and flavorful. I was immediately drawn to the Nutty Mushroom Risotto because it seemed like an amazing, dairy-free replacement for my former comfort food.
I assembled my ingredients and got to work!
6 cups vegetable stock
4 T olive oil
10 oz. mushrooms
2 tsp fresh thyme
3/4 cups finely chopped shallots
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup hazelnuts toasted and skin
Salt and pepper to taste
Start by toasting your hazelnuts. Put a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for ten minutes. When nuts are done, transfer them to a clean kitchen towel. Fold the towel over, and rub vigorously to remove skins. Chop finely, and set aside.
Bring your vegetable stock to a simmer over medium heat. You will let this simmer the whole time you’re cooking the rice and mushrooms. In a large saucepan, heat one tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and saute until they’re soft — about two or three minutes. (Side note: I also added garlic to the mushrooms because I don’t eat anything without garlic). Add the thyme and saute for an additional minute. Transfer to a bowl.
Add the remaining olive oil to the pan. Add shallots and saute until they’re transparent. (Second side note: my Whole Foods only had RED “Spring Shallots” so my risotto is BRIGHT RED. Still delicious!). Add the rice, and cook, stirring consistently. Add the wine, and let it cook, continuing to stir until nearly all the wine has been absorbed.
Next, add a ladleful of the simmering stock to the rice and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until all the stock has been absorbed. Repeat the process until all the stock has been used. Do NOT stop stirring. In the end, the rice should be creamy, but firm — an “al dente” texture.
Add the mushrooms and hazelnuts and stir to combine. I would advise tasting at this point and adding spices as you see fit, including salt and pepper to taste. Serve garnished with thyme sprigs.
The final product — your risotto shouldn’t be red unless you use red shallots, too! They were delicious!
Do you want to win your own copy of Pure Vegan? Leave me a comment describing your comfort food of choice. I will pick a winner on Friday, June 29. Good luck!
*I received a copy of Pure Vegan (and an additional cookbook) to review, but my opinions are my own. This risotto is delicious, I promise.