Love them or loath them, mushrooms are an excellent source of vegetable protein. There are many risotto recipes available – mushroom or otherwise – but few which are suitable for strict vegetarians. Recipes generally call for Parmesan which is produced using animal rennet. But you can find ‘vegetarian hard cheese’ in some supermarkets which is a good substitute, and here is a recipe for a mushroom risotto I made using it…
Ingredients to serve 3-4
- 25g pack of dried mushrooms (e.g. shiitake, porcini, oyster)
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
- 200g fresh mushrooms, sliced (I used mini portobello for flavour)
- 250-300g risotto rice (such as Arborio)
- around 500ml vegetable stock
- small glass of dry white wine
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 50g vegetarian hard cheese, finely grated
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Empty the dried mushrooms into a measuring jug and pour over 300ml boiling water. Leave for 20-30 mins then drain over a bowl, to catch the soaking liquor. Pour the liquor slowly back into the jug, making sure that the gritty bits stay in the bowl. Chop the re-hydrated mushrooms into fairly small pieces.
- Heat the oil in a wide saucepan over a medium heat.
- Add the onions and garlic and cook for around 5 mins.
- Add both the fresh and dried mushrooms and cook for a further 5 minutes.
- Tip in the rice and stir gently for around a minute.
- Pour over the wine and let it bubble to nothing so the alcohol evaporates.
- Add the mushroom liquor, oregano and salt and pepper. Stir until the liquid is absorbed.
- Add a good glug of the stock and continue to stir until that too is absorbed.
- Repeat this process until the rice is cooked. You may need to add a splash more boiling water if the rice is not quote done when the stock runs out.
- Stir in most of the cheese and leave to stand in the pan with the lid on for a minute.
- Serve in bowls sprinkled with the remainder of the cheese and a good twist of black pepper.
Note: The cheese could be omitted to make this meal vegan, but you may need to add a touch more salt to bring out the flavour in that case.