This Creamy Mushroom Risotto is the ultimate comfort dish! It’s so much easier than it seems. Vegan, gluten free, hearty & straight forward – you’ll be making this divine meal very often!
The scene is Paris, France, 2015, in the 4th arrondissement. Sitting outside a cafe, fresh off the plane, I have my first Parisian dish: Risotto aux champignons de Paris et ses copeaux de parmesan. In all it’s creamy delicious, Mushroom risotto from Paris with parmesan. One bite and I’ve declared it that I’ve fallen in love with Paris. In fact, I’m in Paris with my love, my newly wed husband, on our honeymoon, sitting in a hat in a cafe with French music floating through the air and a server who happily tops up my wine after ever sip. I’ve also fallen in love with the word champignons and make mushroom a new favourite ingredient of mine. This is bliss.
Fast forward 4 years and I am finally remaking this dish. How has it taken me this long to make Creamy Mushroom Risotto, you ask? Intimidation. Although I have successfully remade other dishes we had on that trip, risotto seemed daunting. Haunting, almost. Then I finally bit the bullet and decided to have a go at it. I’m pretty sure 4 years of endless blogging has prepared me for this moment because after one attempt it comes out: incredible. After some adjustments and lots of creamy divine forkfuls, the final attempt reveals it all: perfection. Risotto is perfection. Except, it’s not. It’s a beautiful, temperamental, sometime-ish dish that you can’t just follow a direct recipe for. It’s not a script; it goes with the flow of life and that’s what makes it perfection.
All poetic wording aside: here’s what I learned from making this Creamy Mushroom Risotto. Risotto is not as hard as it seems. Risotto however, is a dish that requires a lot of love, time and patience. Give it that and it’ll reward you with the best rice/pasta-y/creamy dish you’ve ever had. The technique for risotto is simple: saute seasonings, add rice, warm. Add wine, absorb. Then add warm broth ladle by ladle, letting the rice absorb each ladle before adding another. Finish with a dollop of high quality vegan butter, vegan parmesan and lemon or lime juice. Stir, then finish. It’s a technique that takes a solid 20-25 minutes over the stove. But with a fun show on, or some Italian or even classical music playing, it becomes something more. It becomes an act of love. Risotto is love.
This Creamy Mushroom Risotto will love you right back. Risotto is an Italian rice dish that uses rice (I used arborio rice, the most popular risotto rice) that is cooked in broth until creamy and delicious. But it’s also so much more than that. One bite, and you’ll understand. I added vegan butter caramelised mushrooms on top and had it with a glass of wine. Yes, it’s a “treat yourself” meal. It’s naturally gluten free and I highly recommend using a dry white wine like Sauvignon Blanc. You’re going to want to also use an amazing broth. With such few ingredients, quality is key.
I hope you enjoy this delicious Mushroom Risotto, friends! I have two more Italian recipes coming your way: Arancini (Fried Rice/Risotto Balls). Great for “leftovers” although we never had leftovers. I had to make a batch just for Arancini, and it was entirely worth it. I also have my new favourite version of an Italian sauce coming your way: Arrabbiata Sauce! Perfect for dipping or scooping onto the arancini, then devouring. Bon appetite!
You’re going to want to give Risotto a lot of love and attention. Don’t try and multi-task while making this dish. Slow and steady wins the race here! If your heat seems to high and every time the broth hits the pot it’s sizzle and evaporating, lower the heat slightly. You want it hot, but not too hot that the rice doesn’t cook properly. I found medium the best temperature for mine.
*The first time I made this Mushroom Risotto I used 4 cups of broth. The second time I changed nothing ingredient wise and only used 3 1/2 cups and it came out creamier the second time. I figured that’s because I really let the rice soak up the broth properly after each time. Taste testing after 12 minutes of cooking and after that every few minutes will help you to know when your risotto is al dente and creamy.
** I used my homemade parmesan, but Violife makes an amazing vegan parmesan cheese block.
*** My favourite vegan butter is Miyokos.
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