Can you believe it’s the end of the first week of April already? It’s still cold here in Indiana and snowing outside as I type this so naturally it calls for this spring-ish Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto. Make this for dinner, find your couch, and chill. Not a bad plan for Saturday, right? Let’s get to it.
Risotto used to be one of those things that scared me. I always had this pre-conceived thought that it took a lot of work, was difficult to get “right” and required me to be in the kitchen all evening. With those thoughts, I quickly dismissed making it for a long time. Turns out, it’s not so bad! The time that is required is strictly for the rice to cook appropriately. Just stir and add liquid as the rice soaks it up until it reaches that tender, creamy consistency we all love.
I use Arborio rice here. This is the typical rice used in risotto because of the high starch content. When the starch mixes with the flavorful liquid, the starches thicken the sauce. Did you know that risotto is more a method than a dish? Risotto can be made with any type of grain such as oatmeal, farro, bulger, the list goes on. The constant is that the liquid is added slowly and absorbs into whatever grain you’re using before you add more. The risotto we usually see in restaurants is made with Arborio rice like I used here, but don’t let that stop you from using something else to make this dish your own.
I choose asparagus and mushrooms as my vegetables here because asparagus is in season (somewhere), not here in snowy Indiana at the moment, but it shouldn’t be too far off. I chose to use mushrooms here as well because they add a savory, meaty type of note to this dish that rounds it out nicely. Plus, I had these gorgeous oyster mushrooms in my refrigerator that I was dying to use.
I whipped this up in under an hour for my mom and I not long ago. It is delicious, creamy, nutritious, and satisfying. As always, no dairy here, which I am sure is against all rules of risotto making known to man, but who cares.
Let’s make risotto everyone. There are really 3 sections to this recipe; sautéing the vegetables, cooking the rice, and folding in the finishing touches. To start, chop your onion, garlic, and mushrooms. Heat a pot, add a tablespoon of olive oil and then the onions. Sauté the onions until translucent. Next, add in the mushrooms and garlic and stir. Cook these until the garlic is fragrant and the mushrooms start to stick. At this time, deglaze with the white wine.
While the onions are doing their thing, heat a pot with boiling, salted water. Chop the asparagus into thirds and add it to the boiling water. What we are doing here is blanching the asparagus. Let this cook for about a minute. You will see the asparagus turn a vibrant green color. Remove the asparagus from the boiling water and put into an ice bath. This is simply a bowl of water filled with ice. By putting the asparagus in there it stops the cooking process and preserves that bright green color. Once they have cooled, drain and set aside. If you are not using fresh asparagus and are instead using frozen, you can completely skip this blanching step as they were blanched before they were frozen.
To the onion, mushroom, garlic, and wine mixture, add the risotto rice and stir until everything is coated. It’s time to add the vegetable stock, about a cup of a time. Make sure the stock is hot when you do this or it will cool the pot down and take longer to cook the rice. Add the hot stock to the pot and stir to coat the rice. The rice will start to absorb the liquid and at that time, add more to the pot. This should take roughly 30 minutes to come to the right texture. You may need more or less vegetable broth to reach the desired consistency.
Once the rice comes to the right consistency, turn off the heat, fold in the asparagus, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and vegan butter. Adjust salt as needed. Serve immediately.
Top with lemon zest, more lemon juice for acidity, and vegan parmesan if you prefer.
I hope you all enjoy this recipe. If you make it, be sure to take a picture and tag me on Instagram and Facebook @plantiful_grub.
Have a great weekend!