Monday, 23 May 2011

National Vegetarian Week - Mushroom Risotto

Mushroom risotto is one of my favourite meals, both to eat and to cook. I love it because it's got a reputation for being difficult but - here's a secret I don't tell everyone - it is so easy.

The recipe I use comes from Vegetarian Kitchen by Sarah Brown, but I have adapted it for use in my rice cooker, which makes it easier than ever. If you don't have a rice cooker (and aren't tempted to buy one after my glowing recommendations) then you can still make this with a few small adaptations.

I'll admit, I was so hungry I forgot to take a photo until I'd eaten some

To feed three hungry adults, I use around 260g Arborio (risotto) rice, 50g butter, 650ml stock or water, a lot of frozen peas and six to eight large mushrooms, peeled and sliced. I also add in about 50g of grated cheese - I would use more but we're trying to eat less saturated fat for the sake of my stepdad's cholesterol levels.

First, melt the butter in a medium saucepan and fry the rice for a few minutes. Then put all the ingredients except the grated cheese into the rice cooker and press start. Once it switches to Keep Warm mode, stir in the cheese and add a squirt of lemon juice or a pinch of salt and pepper to season. I find it usually takes between 30 and 45 minutes to cook in my rice cooker.

If you aren't using a rice cooker, use a large saucepan and less water - around 570ml. Also make sure you cook the peas before adding them, as they won't have time to cook in the pan. After frying the rice, add the water and boil uncovered until the liquid has evaporated and the rice is sticky. The recipe suggests 25-30 minutes but I find it takes less time than this. Make sure you stir every few minutes to stop it sticking to the bottom too much (which it will do, no matter how much you stir). Then add the mushrooms, pre-cooked peas, cheese and seasoning at the end.

This is an easily-adapted recipe; I'm keen to try it with red and green peppers, onion and maybe finely chopped mushrooms instead of slices. A quick Google search suggested asparagus, peas and green beans, which sounds amazing. Using a rice cooker, it's the easiest thing in the world and everything comes out perfectly cooked. It's a good way of using up left-over vegetables too, just stir in the cooked veg at the end.

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