This easy mushroom risotto is the second recipe of my new series here on Thinly Spread. Every Wednesday, in term time, I am sharing the simplest vegetarian recipes in my repertoire. I now have two boys away at University so this is as much an easy vegetarian student cookbook for them as it is cathartic for me! It will be a mixture of the simplest vegetarian and vegan student recipes as well as tips and tricks picked up by my boys as they set off on their own culinary adventures!
An easy mushroom risotto recipe is hard to beat when you’re tired and hungry. It takes 30 minutes in the pan and it is rich, filling and tasty. You can make a risotto with any vegetables you have to hand and they are great for using up left over bits and bobs in the veg drawer of the fridge. If you come across any cooking terms which baffle you there is an explanation of some of them at the bottom of this post. If you’re still not sure – ask, either here in a comment or over on social media!
Easy Mushroom Risotto – Simple Vegetarian Food for You!
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium leek
- 100g chestnut mushrooms
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 100g (about ½ cup) risotto rice
- 2 vegetable stock cubes
- 50ml of white wine (optional)
- 600ml boiling water (650ml if you are not adding the white wine - about 2.5 cups of liquid altogether)
- 1 tsp dried mixed herbs
- 25g grated cheddar
- salt and pepper
- Extra grated cheddar cheese
- A little bit of parsley
- Fresh baby spinach leaves
- Trim the leek, removing the very bottom of the root end and any green leaves at the top. Wash thoroughly.
- Slice in half lengthways and then again into quarters, then chop finely.
- Chop the mushrooms finely.
- Peel and chop the garlic very finely.
- Add the vegetable stock cubes to the boiling water and stir to dissolve.
- Heat the olive oil very gently in a large frying pan.
- Add the leek and mushrooms and cook gently until soft and the mushrooms release their juices (about 5 minutes)
- Add the garlic and cook gently for another minute.
- Add the rice and stir.
- Increase the heat and add enough water to barely cover the rice, stir frequently until most of the stock has been absorbed.
- Add the wine, if using, and a good glug of stock, stir frequently again until this stock has been absorbed.
- Keep adding stock gradually like this and stirring until all the stock has been used and the rice is creamy. About 20 minutes.
- Remove from the heat.
- Stir in the dried mixed herbs, some salt and pepper to taste and the grated cheese and leave to stand for 5 minutes.
- Serve on a bed of washed baby spinach leaves, sprinkled with a little bit of parsley (not strictly necessary but it looks cheffy) and some extra grated cheddar if you want more.
- This makes a very generous dinner for one or you could share it with a friend (maybe with some bread and butter on the side)
- You can use the basic recipe and adapt it to suit whichever vegetables you have to hand. Use an onion instead of a leek, replace the mushrooms with carrots or peas, stir the spinach in instead of sitting the risotto on it.
- The stirring is important when making risotto, you are encouraging it to be as creamy as possible BUT if you can’t be bothered, use less stock, stick a lid on it, stir it every now and again to stop it sticking. Cook it for 20 minutes. Take the lid off after 15 minutes and stir it vigorously for the last five, making sure all the liquid has been absorbed.
- Make it Vegan – replace the cheese with a good vegan cheese or with 3 tablespoons of Nutritional Yeast (we’ll talk about this one very soon – it’s invaluable, we get through tonnes!)
A Glossary of Terms Used in Recipes
Look here for our growing list of terminology which I am adding to as we go along. This week’s cooking terms and questions are:
What is Risotto RIce?
Risotto rice is short grained and white. It is particularly starchy which is what gives risotto its lovely creaminess. It is available in several varieties, the most common being arborio and carnaroli both of which work well. If pushed I’d choose carnaroli, it’s a bit kinder and doesn’t mind left alone for a bit but there’s not much in it!
What Makes a Cheese ‘Suitable for Vegetarians’?
Some cheese makers use calf rennet to coagulate the milk – that means to separate the curds and whey – but many do not. Parmesan is never suitable for vegetarians so look for a good mature cheddar with a V symbol on it or for a Vegetarian ‘Italian Hard Cheese’. The Vegetarian Society explains this in more detail if you want a bit more information.
What does ‘simmering’ mean?
Simmering is a method of cooking food in water. Once the pan has boiled, the temperature is reduced so that the water is still bubbling gently and the food is being cooked but not blasted!
I do hope you’ll join us on our easy vegetarian culinary journey – watch out every Wednesday for the latest super easy vegetarian or vegan recipe. Sign up to receive email updates straight into your inbox, follow me across social media and if you have a question…just ask!
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