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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Creamy Fennel and Mushroom Risotto

Creamy Fennel and Mushroom Risotto
Takes about 1 hour
Serves 4 – 5

With the addition of vegan sour cream, this is a truly decadent dish, very meat-eater friendly.  I’m not huge on using vegan commercial dairy-substitute products although I did use commercial sour cream for this recipe because I happened to have some around.  If you don’t buy into that, make your own sour cream using silken tofu.  I use two types of mushrooms; dried shitakes largely for flavor and baby portabellas for chewiness.  The whole thing about having to constantly stir risotto: you need to stir quite often but you don’t have to be literally glued to the stove.  I have cooked this recipe while working on another dish, stirring every couple minutes or so.  It is very unlikely that you will need all 9 cups of water but I add extra for evaporation from boiling and in case more is needed (always a possibility).


9 cups of water
½ oz dried shitake mushrooms
1 fennel bulb, diced into squares
1 ½ cups sliced baby portabellas (or button mushrooms)
4 cloves garlic, chopped finely
3 tbsp margarine
1 1/3 cup arborio rice
1 ½ tsp nutritional yeast
2 tsp salt
2 tsp dried dill
½ tsp marjoram
½ cup vegan sour cream

1. In a pot, boil the water.  Once boiling, add the shitakes.  Boil about about 15 minutes or until shitakes are rehydrated.  Remove shitakes from the water and set aside.  Cover the pot that contains the water and keep it on low heat.
2. In a separate pot, melt the margarine over medium high heat.  Add the diced fennel and sauté for about 2 minutes.  Add the portabellas and garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds.
3. Add the rice and stir for a minute or two.  Then add 1 cup of the water from the pot.  Cook, stirring often, until much of the water is absorbed.  Then add the next cup of water.  Keep adding water (usually about 5 cups total) until rice is fully cooked.  Stir in the nutritional yeast, salt, dried dill, and marjoram during this process.  Stir in the shitakes as soon as they are cool enough to dice (dice them into squares).  Word of advice: Add the next cup of water before the previous one is fully absorbed.  If you can keep the rice mostly covered in liquid the whole time, it will cook faster.
4. Once the rice is fully cooked (it will be al dente but not at all hard), stir in the vegan sour cream.  Serve hot.

Creamy Fennel and Mushroom Risotto and Curried Cauliflower

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