Vegan Risotto

I used to be scared of making risotto, which is crazy I know as it is one of the easiest things to cook. It practically cooks itself, so why I would balk at making it for years heaven alone knows. I need to thank, as ever, Mon Bears. Flerika stood me in the kitchen and instructed me how to make a risotto, and showed me how simple it is to do. This is a good store-cupboard and freezer staple. If you’ve got good stock, you can make a great risotto.

Assemble please the following, makes 4-6 portions:

  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 25og packet of firm tofu, cubed into 1cm pieces *
  • Grated vegan cheese *
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, garlic clove chopped, 1 tbsp mixed dried herbs
  • Good glug of Cinzano, or white wine if you have no vermouth (not something I will ever worry about with my penchant for martinis)
  • If you’re just back from the market and have some fresh beans and peas, so much the better. If not, assorted mixed frozen veggies will be fine
  • 1 litre of vegetable stock, make sure you heat it up too

Chop your onion, fry it off in the oil with the garlic and mixed herbs, soften the onions, don’t caramalise them. When soft, add the glug of Cinzano/white wine, then add the rice and quinoa to cook through with the alcohol and onions. This helps keep the grains from sticking, and also gives them a frabjous flavour.

Start adding your stock, just enough to cover the bottom of the pan to start off with. You can add bigger amounts of fluid in a minute, but this first addition just needs to coat the grains and lift off the onions without swamping the mixture. Risotto is about cooking the rice, but not so it steams, you want the flavour of the stock, not the moisture. From here on in, add enough stock to cover the pan base, plus a bit more each time. Stir it through so it doesn’t stick, keep adding the liquid slowly.

When you have just under half the stock left, add your veggies, I am addicted to Broad Beans, to the point where Hubs asks me to not make risotto with them for a bit, please, thank you. The veg will cook in the stock and steam coming off the rice mixture, any earlier they will turn to mush. When you have about a quarter of the stock left, add the tofu. Tofu only needs to be reheated, and take on the flavours of what you’re cooking. Again, it will disintegrate if you cook it for too long.

As the last of the liquid is absorbed, add your grated vegan cheese (Hubs calls it Feese, Fake Cheese). Stir through, serve with a leafy green salad for a summer dish, or a slightly larger portion for a hearty winter meal. Seconds are optional, but left overs for lunch are always great!

* For you non-veggies, use chicken instead of tofu and normal cheese

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