Creamy Vegan Rosemary Mushroom Risotto
I’ve had my fair trek around the world, experiencing so many unique, sometimes bizarre and unforgettable cuisines. It wasn’t until living temporarily in Switzerland did I discover what a tried and true risotto was like… and I learned most importantly there is no “quick” way to make a proper risotto.
I didn’t speak Swiss-German… and my host father definitely didn’t speak English. He was a strong yet artistic type, I remember feeling quite intimidated at first by what felt like impatience towards me being in their home. Who would have thought what ended up bonding us was cooking? You see cooking didn’t take language, it really didn’t require speaking at all. He would just watch me in the kitchen, shaking his head, and begin taking over. Pointing, and showing me the best ingredients to use instead of the basics I was reaching for. Showing me how to elevate simple rice into a magnificent risotto.
You see risotto became my staple meal in Brig- Glis, and I mean, it’s all I ate for dinner. The reason was simple, living on a very small stipend and buying groceries in Switzerland was expensive!! Here you can’t find a bag of Arborio Rice for less than 6.99 in most stores, over there? It was the cheapest thing I could get! Needless to say, I became a risotto snob and rarely eat it in America.
I’ll be sure to share two other favorite recipes I’ve converted to vegan from my time in Switzerland down the road!
For this recipe, we will be ditching the pressure cookers and tackling this risotto the same way I learned, with instinct and eyeballs. Don’t be afraid! The reason I don’t always trust other Risotto recipes is I’ve found they don’t teach you how to watch, listen, and pay attention to the needs of the dish. You can’t simply add 6 cups of broth and expect it to be brilliantly al dente. We must take our time, watch the cooking process take shape and go with the flow.
What this means is you will see virtually no measurements, just general estimations. If you want more mushrooms add more! If you want more or less wine, do that! But the key is letting each batch of liquid get fully absorbed before feeding more into the dish.
I believe in you as my Swiss host father believed in me. Let’s do this!
Creamy Vegan Rosemary Mushroom Risotto
- (1) Sautee Pan
- (1) Standard Skillet
- 7.5 oz Arborio "Risotto" rice Here I'm using Manitou Porcini Risotto, any traditional Arborio
- 1 QT Mushroom Broth You might not be using it all!
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil OR Vegan Butter Don't be shy with coating the pan
- White Cooking Wine I purchase "Holland House" cooking wine, you can go with any Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc that you have on hand as well.
- 1/2 Sweet Yellow Onion *Optional*
- 3 Cloves of Garlic
- 5 oz Baby Bella Sliced Mushrooms
- 2 Large Sprigs of Rosemary Can be substituted with Thyme alternatively
- 1 oz Vegan Cream Cheese I found "Go Veggie" at the store, any plain brand will work similarly.
- As I was taught the NO measurement method abroad, this is the technique we will work with for this recipe. I promise, you'll do great! The KEY to this risotto… and all risotto really is stirring frequently, and paying attention to it's needs.
- Start by chopping your sweet onion into evenly well diced pieces and mince the garlic cloves.
- Preheat your pan on medium heat ( I use a Saute pan ) and add your olive oil and/or butter. Utilize enough oil to get a nice thick coat on the bottom of the pan with enough to coat the rice and cook our garlic and onions additionally.
- Add your onions and stir until they become translucent. Add your garlic until aromatic ( about 30 seconds ), continue stirring to avoid over cooking.
- Add your dried rice to the oil, when cooking for two I use about roughly half a bag (15 oz bag). And begin stirring to evenly coat the rice in the excess oil. You will start to see the grains go from very dry to having a nice shiny coat.
- When your rice is fully coated pour a hearty splash of wine onto the rice, I pour enough to really allow every grain of rice the opportunity to marinate in the flavor as it bubbles. Stir until fully absorbed, feel free to add another small splash if you like. I personally love the flavor and go more heavy handed, my rice likes to drink after all.
- Add your Rosemary sprigs to the pan
- Open up your mushroom broth and begin by pouring about 1 cup of broth into the rice mixture at a time. Continuously or very frequently stirring the rice to avoid sticking and burning. Once fully absorbed add another cup of broth. We will keep doing this until our rice appears to begin it's fluffing process (30-40 minutes), as you feel the starchness and fluffiness of the rice begin we will add less liquid each time about 1/4 a cup or a hearty splash to recreate moisture. It's important to stir the most during this process as the rice absorbs the remaining liquid it needs to not be too 'firm'.
- Before the rice becomes too fluffy make sure to remove your Rosemary sprigs and toss away. The Rosemary really succeeds in transferring flavor when it's saturated in liquid.
- In a separate skillet coat, the bottom again with a healthy layer of oil, and add your mushrooms. When cooking for two I use about 3/4 a sliced container, but mushroom lovers you decide! Allow these to fully cook down to a soft, perfectly brown tenderness. Add these mushrooms to the now fluffier rice.
- You'll notice the rice is still undercooked if you can still spot very small crispy white dots in the center of some of the grains, being careful to add small splashes of broth to allow the rice to finish cooking completely without over liquifying. After a few minutes, the rice should be finished perfectly al dente. Meaning soft and fluffy but still somewhat firm in the bite. Essentially the moment the white crunchy center leaves the remaining grains.
- A little nervous it's undercooked?! Take a fork and try a bite! If there is NO crunch you've nailed it. If there is still a little crunch, add another quick splash of broth, no problem.
- With all of your ingredients well married the final step is to add our vegan cream cheese! In the traditional recipe I was taught to use a quality Parmigiano Reggiano. In this instance to maintain our vegan integrity the cream cheese will create a creamy consistency that is similar and equally delicious. I used approx. about a large spoonful and a half to reach a creaminess I was pleased with visually. You are welcome to go with less!
- Top with salt & pepper to taste if desired and you're ready to rock.