While I don’t like using white rice too often, this risotto is just too good to pass up. It is quite starchy and overloaded with carbs, but as a quick way to impress your hot date with cooking skills, risotto always gets the job done. 😉 Plus, it’s one of the easiest Italian recipes to turn vegan without losing any quality.

And don’t let the ‘aura’ of risotto intimidate you, the process is incredibly quick and simple if you follow a few guidelines. You can make a restaurant-quality risotto in under 30 minutes. Let’s get started…

Risotto

Ingredients:

  • 10 ounces Arborio (risotto) rice
  • 1 red onion – finely diced
  • 3 celery stalks – finely diced
  • 750 ml vegetable stock
  • ⅓ cup white wine
  • olive oil
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 lemon
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Making a Risotto – It’s Easy!

Making a risotto bianco (white risotto) is actually pretty easy. You simply add the rice to the pan and pour in one ladle of broth at a time, stirring regularly and waiting until all the liquid is absorbed before adding more. This gives the rice its smooth flowing texture. Here’s how it works…

  • Add the vegetable broth to a small pot and begin warming on a burner. This way, the broth will already be hot as you pour it over the rice. 
  • In a deep pan, begin softening the finely-chopped celery and onion with a little of olive oil and water.
  • When the celery and onions are soft (but not browned) add in the risotto rice and let it fry for 1-2 minutes.
  • Pour in the white wine and continue to stir until it is fully absorbed.
  • Then, begin adding one ladle of the hot broth (about 3/4 cup) at a time, waiting for it to become absorbed, and then adding another ladle.
  • Continue this process until two-thirds of the stock have been used. Then, add in whatever toppings you’re planning on using. In this case, the sun-dried tomatoes and frozen peas, and continue ladling until all the broth has been used.
  • The goal of a risotto is to develop a ‘lava-like’ texture (Jamie Oliver’s words) that will slowly ooze off the end of a spoon. Unfortunately for the picture above, I let mine sit for too long before photographing it and it is too dry – yours should be smoother.
  • If the vegetable broth didn’t fully achieve this texture, continue adding water until it looks about right to you.
  • When the risotto is finished, remove from heat, squeeze the lemon juice over the top, add salt and pepper to taste, and cover for 1-5 minutes to let the flavors and texture become perfect before serving.

The above process should take about 25-30 minutes. See a timeline below of approximately what the risotto should look like at different points in its lifetime:

risottoStages

That’s basically all there is to it! Just remember to stir regularly and cook until lava-like (a few minutes longer than the 25 minute picture above). Minus the peas and tomatoes, this is a standard ‘risotto bianco’ and you can experiment with adding anything you like to it. Pesto is one of my favorites, as are pumpkin + sage, asparagus, or even mushrooms. When the rice is two-thirds cooked, simply throw in whatever ingredients you want to try – you can’t go wrong.