12 December, 2006

Christmas food

No, I am not making a stuffed turkey, stuffed faux-turkey, or tofurkey I've simply been making a lot of red and green food recently (I know it doesn't look very red or green on the pictures, but read the ingredients!!!) Moreover I am in Italian spirit so here we go:


This was my first attempt to make a risotto. I actually never even had a real risotto but on Friday I felt like eating one (how can you crave something you've never had before - I don't know)!
I'll tell you the truth, I was intimidated. I heard that making a risotto is a long and almost painful process with constant stirring but I will assure you that it's not as bad as it sounds. Yes, you have to stir it for a while so it's not a good dish to cook in a hurry but it's much easier than what they make it sound.

5-6 cups of vegetarian broth
1/2 cup of wine (optional)
1-2 tbsp of olive oil
1 onion, diced
1-3 cloves of garlic (if you like garlic)
2 cups of Arborio rice (I couldn't find any Arborio rice, so I used the "Italian style" rice which worked great)
1/4 cup of vegan Parmesan substitute.
Spices (you can use both fresh and/or dried)
Any vegetables you want to add to your risotto.
You have to divide these vegetables according to the cooking time. Veggies such as mushrooms, zucchinis, carrots, peppers will need more time too cook, where as something like canned artichokes, grilled veggies, spinach, etc. will be done faster. Depending on the "group" you will be adding these veggies at the beginning, middle, or end of the risotto cooking process ;)

Heat up the oil and add the onions and garlic. Sauté for ~5 minutes until soft but not brown! Couple of minutes into cooking the onions and garlic I've added the dried spices (basil, oregano, marjoram, and sage) along with zucchinis, and mushrooms.
Now it's time for the long and tedious stirring ;). Put the rice in the vegetable mix without adding any broth and cook it for couple of minutes, stirring. Start adding broth (about 1/2 cup at a time) stirring constantly until all of the water is absorbed. If you are using vine, add it first and then continue with broth.
Continue adding broth and stirring the rice. After 15 minutes you can start tasting the rice for doneness. The rice is ready when it's soft but not mushy (al dente). You also should keep in mind that you don't want your risotto to be too soupy, so start adjusting the amount of liquid added. This is also a good time to add any fresh spices you are using. I had some basil, sage, and marjoram. I've also added some canned artichokes for the texture.

Do not forget to add your vegetables half-way or at the end of cooking the risotto.

Once the rice is ready, turn of the heat, add the "Parmesan" and stir it all couple of times.

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