Arborio. Arboreal. Something creamy, warm and smoked, for my belly today (and yours?).
What have we there? Broccoli, fennel, mushroom, orange pepper, and onion, surrounded by perfectly al dente little bites of rice. Onion grass from the back yard (aka, foraged chives). And some decadently creamy cashew stock, with smoked black pepper and roasted garlic.
I was concerned the creaminess of the stock would interfere with the rice performing its magic, but no worries. Perfecto. And easy.
Creamy Fall Vegetable Risotto
serves 6 (or 3 hungry me's)
2.5 cups arborio rice
3 tablespoons canola or olive oil
5 cups water
2 tablespoons mushroom stock concentrate, or another strongly flavored vegetable stock
6 cloves roasted garlic
2/3 cup raw cashews
Smoked black peppercorns, to taste
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
Small fistful of fresh onion grass, minced
Fresh thyme, 1 1/2 teaspoons
Fresh sage, 3 leaves, minced (optional)
1 small head broccoli, tough stems removed, cut to florets
1 onion, diced
1 orange bell pepper, diced
1 small head fennel, sliced to rings
Salt, at the end, only if it needs it.
Roast your mushrooms, fennel, garlic (wrapped in foil, with a tsp of oil) and broccoli in the oven at 430f. Use the same roasting pan, toss them with a little oil, and remove them to a plate as they finish cooking (broccoli at 8 minutes or so, mushrooms at 10, fennel then or at 12, garlic at 18-20).
Throw the first 6 ingredients into your blender and puree until very smooth. Remove to a small saucepan and heat over medium low, keeping it warm.
In a large risotto or saute pan, heat your oil over medium-high heat. Add your onion and pepper, and cook 4 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Lower heat to medium-low.
Add your rice and stir to coat with the oil. Toss for 4-5 minutes, until each granule has a translucent "halo" around its edges. Now it is time to add the stock.
2/3 of a cup at a time, dears - stirring constantly. Cashews contain protein, so beware of rice trying to become one with the bottom of your pan. 20-22 minutes ought to get you through most if not all of your stock and see your rice to near perfection - if you need a little more water at the end, don't hesitate to use it.
Add a little more thyme or sage, if you'd like. Taste for salt.
Go at it while its still warm. Cheers!