I love it when the process of slicing and smelling and stirring and sprinkling that’s involved in a recipe is just as enjoyable as sitting down and taking the first bite of a finished dish. Risotto is a perfect example of this, and has become something I return to over and over for its simplicity in approach and beautiful end result.
For this version of risotto, I’ve used basic cashew cream to add in some richness, thyme and parsley to impart a savory quality and vibrant color, and chopped shiitake caps to introduce a complementary texture and slightly woodsy flavor throughout. Prep and serve it with a glass of white wine nearby for a relaxing and indulgent light dinner, appetizer or side dish.
Yield 2 servings
for the risotto
- 3 to 3 1/2 cups prepared or homemade vegetable broth
- 1 TB Earth Balance
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup Arborio rice
- 1/2 cup dry cooking wine
- 1/3 cup basic cashew cream
for the shiitake topping
- 1 TB olive oil
- 6-8 shiitake caps, thinly sliced
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 2 TB dry white wine
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- Place the vegetable both in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once it begins to simmer, reduce the heat to low.
- In a large flat-bottomed pan, melt the vegan butter over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and stir to coat, allowing to soften for 2-3 minutes. Add in the rice and stir to combine for about 2 minutes. Add in the cooking wine, then stir for two minutes more.
- Add one cup of the hot broth to the rice, and stir well. Keep stirring until all of the broth has been absorbed by the rice. Repeat this process by continuing to add broth, a 1/2 cup at a time, until the rice is al dente, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cashew cream.
- In a separate pan, heat 1 TB of olive oil over medium heat. Add in the sliced shiitake caps and stir to coat, then sprinkle the dried thyme over the top and stir again. After 4 minutes, add 2 TB of dry white wine to the pan, and allow to sizzle and slightly reduce. Add in the fresh chopped parsley and stir until it’s vibrantly green (about a minute).
- Spoon the risotto into two serving bowls, topping with the shiitake. Serve immediately.