In 2011 after graduating from college, I went on a little Euro-trip with my best friend, Xiomara. As a food connoisseur (foodie for short), I was in heaven the moment we landed in Italy. One of my favorite dishes is risotto. The creaminess, the heartiness as well as the love and soul that goes into a great bowl of risotto makes my taste buds and heart sing. I have to admit, it is a tedious and exhausting process. Traditionally risotto calls for wine but we didn’t have any on hand so we just added a little more veggie stock. If you can get the wine, bring it! It adds another dimension of flavor. Get ready for a delicious meal and arm workout!
What You Need:
- 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil
- 1-2 tablespoons of butter (Vegan Butter, Earth Balance Soy Free Spread is Fab)
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 cup of finely chopped shallots
- 1 cup of arborio rice (or short grain brown rice, which I opted for in this recipe)
- 3-4 cups of vegetable stock (there’s more flavor in stock), warmed and set to the side
- 1 cup of white wine (Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio- only use wine you actually would drink)
- 1 cup of frozen peas
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes
- 1/3 cup of chopped slivered almonds (you can toast them if you would like for added flavor)
- 2 Meyer Lemons, juice and zest
- 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley (opt for flat parsley, not curly)
- Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
How You Make It:
- Heat oil in a heavy pot. Add one tablespoon of butter to the oil. Toss in shallots and garlic. Cook over medium low heat for about 5 minutes.
- Turn up the heat and toss in rice. Mix thoroughly until completely coated with the oil mixture. Add the glass of wine (if you’re not using wine, add a ladle full of stock) and scrape the pot to deglaze (AKA removing the crusty bits at the bottom of the pan)
- Stirring frequently, slowly add a ladle full of stock at a time. Once the previous ladle full has been absorbed, add another ladle full. Continue this process until you have used up to 3 cups of the stock. Test the rice. If the rice is tender, do not add the last cup of stock. If there is still a bite to the rice, add the final cup and continue to cook until the stock is absorbed.
- Toss in peas and tomatoes. Stir to combine. Slowly stir in the final tablespoon of butter for creaminess. Season with salt and pepper.
- Once peas are fully cooked, add the juice and zest of both lemons, almonds and parsley. Add more salt if needed.
- Serve immediately.
My favorite part about risotto has to be eating it with loved ones and seeing their smiles. You can serve this with some fresh sautéed veggies on the side or with some bruschetta if you’re having an Italian themed dinner. The best part about this recipe is it doesn’t contain any cheese or actual butter to make it overly heavy. You can enjoy the comfort of this classic Italian dish without overindulging.
Peace, love and NO beef!