Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Vegetarian Week, Part Two: Pea, Mushroom, and Parmesan Risotto

Welcome back! I am continuing on my journey through the world of vegetarian cooking and enjoying it quite a bit.

DISCLAIMER: In no way does Stacy Chudwin or this blog advocate a full vegetarian diet. In fact, it's downright un-American.

Anyways. This week I decided to take a crack at something that has always intimidated me. No, not trying to imagine Ina Garten and her husband making love. I'm talking about risotto.

From what I have gathered from countless hours of Food Network watching, making risotto is time-consuming and difficult to do well. When a roommate moved out and left a canister of arborio rice abandoned in my pantry, I figured it was fate urging me to give it a try. My Pea, Mushroom, and Parmesan Risotto was a smashing success, and if I can do it, you can, too!

Food Porn Description: Take one bite of my warm, creamy risotto, and your mouth is filled with the luscious flavors of rice softened in rich vegetable broth. Layered into the risotto like hidden gems are silky mushrooms and peas that provide a surprising pop of flavor and texture, all bound together with tangy parmesan cheese. Hearty and delicious, you won't find yourself aching for meat for one second with a bowl of this comfort food.

  • 1 cup uncooked arborio rice. This is the secret weapon to good Italian risotto. Believe it or not, there is no cream in risotto! It gets that creamy texture from the starches released from the arborio rice.
  • 3 cups vegetable broth. You can also use chicken broth, but hey, it's Vegetarian Week!
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 onion
  • 1 package white button mushrooms. You can experiment with wild mushrooms if you'd like (notice I did not say "shrooms"), but button mushrooms are the least expensive.
  • 1 cup frozen peas. I actually have no idea how much I put in, I just kinda eyeballed it. No need to thaw the peas first.
  • 1 big handful of shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves or 1 tbsp. dried thyme
See, not too many ingredients! Once you have mastered the basic technique of risotto, you can experiment with all different types of vegetables and herbs. This recipe makes a big ole pot of risotto and actually reheats pretty well if you can't eat it all in one sitting. But you're gonna want to.


Dice up your onion.

Melt your butter in a saucepan over medium high heat.

Add the onions and mushrooms to the saucepan and stir to coat with the butter. Let them cook and soften for a few minutes until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms are nicely browned.

Add the rice to the pot and stir to coat with the butter. Let the rice toast up for a couple minutes.

Add the thyme leaves and one cup of the vegetable broth to the pot. Stir continuously until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid (should take about five minutes or so.) This is the labor-intensive part of risotto, but it will be worth it! I promise!

Add one more cup of broth and stir continuously until absorbed.

Add your last cup of broth, and the frozen peas, and stir until absorbed. By now, the risotto should be plump and creamy.

When the final cup of broth is absorbed and the peas are nice and warm, stir in your parmesan cheese. Magnifico!

Spoon into a bowl and enjoy your rich, hearty vegetarian meal. Enjoy!

Do YOU have any great vegetarian recipes to share?


  1. but seriously... can I add beef to this?

  2. hahahaha that was awesome....and yes, yes you can