Dish of the day: The Reluctant Vegetarian’s Buttery Leek Risotto with Crispy Garlic Oyster Mushroom Topping
I’m always extra reluctant when it comes to making risottos as it seems to be the go to dish for most restaurants as a veggie option! Here, I’ve opted to include mushrooms, probably the second most popular and obvious vegetable to feed a vegetarian. This, however, makes for a very delicious dish and one worth trying. I even managed to cajole my non-mushroom eating vegetarian boyfriend into scoffing a large portion. This works as the perfect informal dinner party dish with everyone helping themselves. It’s great served with greens on the side or a crisp tomato salad. You can also roll up any leftovers into arancini/risotto balls. What’s not great about this dish?!
Cooking / Preparation Time – 40 mins
Feeds – 6/8
50g of Butter
500g of Arborio rice
1/2 x Pint of white wine
Rock salt & black/white pepper
3 x Cloves of garlic – Crushed and finely chopped
1.5 pints of Vegetable stock
2 x Leeks – Cut into thirds and chopped into fine strips
1 x Small jar of baby aubergines
Parmesan (vegetarian) – Finely grated
Parsley – Small hand full – Finely sliced
1/2 x Lemon zest
Garlic Fried Mushrooms -
6 x Handfuls of oyster mushrooms – Allow one handful per person, thoroughly wash and dry before frying
1 x Handful of parsley – Finely sliced
2 x Cloves of garlic – Crushed and finely sliced
Knob of butter
Start by melting the butter in a large pan then add in the risotto rice and stir. Cook for 3/4 minutes then add in a sprinkle of salt and pepper before gradually adding in the white wine. Once the white wine has been absorbed by the rice start adding the vegetable stock, stirring until all the liquid has been absorbed.
In a separate pan melt a small knob of butter and season with salt. Add in the strips of leeks and cook on a medium/low heat until soft before adding to the risotto.
While your rice is cooking get your oyster mushrooms frying in a pan. Add a knob of butter and fry so they’re crispy on both sides. Next add in the garlic and parsley and cook for a further 2 minutes, not allowing the garlic to golden or burn.
Continue to stir the risotto throughout the cooking process, not letting it to stick to the bottom of the pan. Ensure you continue to try the rice for seasoning (remember that you’ll be adding parmesan so don’t over salt it). Once the rice is no longer crispy you’re ready to serve. It should take between 15 and 20 minutes to cook through.
Once the leeks have been added, grate your veggie parmesan and add half of it, stirring it into the risotto before checking the seasoning again. You’ll know at this stage if you need to add additional salt. Add in the grated lemon zest also and you’re ready to serve.
Prepare some additional parsley to garnish and if you like lemon zest save some of that to garnish with also. Serve up a couple of generously heaped tablespoons per portion: it’s filling! Top with a few crispy, garlic oyster mushrooms then garnish with a combination of finely grated parmesan, lemon zest and finely chopped parsley. Finally add some extra freshly ground black pepper and get stuck in.
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