One thing I feared I would miss when I gave up dairy was a proper risotto, which relies on the particular flavor of parmesan cheese and the creaminess of butter. It took some trial and error to get it right, but I think I’ve finally create something really close using a combination of white wine, olive oil, and nutritional yeast. Since I’m all hippy-crunchy, I use short grain brown rice instead of Arborio or Carnaroli rice, neither of which I can find in their unrefined form. The finished brown rice risotto is a little chewier than traditional risotto, and the taste is rich and wonderful.
To go with the risotto I sautéed a head of broccoli Raab, topped with salt and lemon juice to cut the bitterness. I also have some chickpeas dressed in olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, parsley and salt in the fridge from a lunch earlier this week, and I mashed those up and pan-fried them into little croquettes to serve on the side.
Brown Rice Risotto
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1 small onion, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 carrots, peeled and minced
- 2 large shiitake mushroom caps, minced
- 1 cup short grain brown rice
- 1 cup good white wine
- 4 cups broth, plus extra water if needed
- 1 heaping tbs nutritional yeast
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a medium-sized saucepan. Bring the broth to a boil in another pot nearby.
- Cook the onions and garlic in the oil until softened, about 3-5 minutes. Add carrots and mushrooms, and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the rice and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Pour the wine into the pot and bring to a boil. Pour a couple ladles of broth into the pot, just enough to cover the rice, and simmer, stirring frequently. As the liquid level drops, add more broth to the rice, being careful to prevent it from drying out. Cook like this until rice is done, which should take 45-50 minutes. You may need to add some water at the end if all the broth has been added but the rice is not cooked. Since you will be stuck near the stove for a while, use this time to prepare side dishes or something else with which to stock your fridge.
- About ten minutes from completion (when the rice is almost done, and you find yourself thinking “this last bit of broth/water ought to do it”), add the nutritional yeast. Taste, and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper–do not add these sooner, since the broth will be boiling down, adding saltiness, and the yeast is salty, too.