Thursday, December 1, 2011

Creamy Fall Vegetable Risotto

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!


  1. This sounds so perfect. I have leftover cashew sauce from Thanksgiving that I'm dying to use up. I imagine the fennel and mushroom taste wonderful with the sauce.

  2. This looks delicious! There was a restaurant in DC when I lived there that featured risotto as its theme. I never imagined that a restaurant could be built around risotto, but this place was AWESOME. Your recipe brought back memories of dining there on a cold fall day -- I think it was an apple and havarti risotto. To. Die. For!

  3. This looks delicious. Would love for you to share this with us over at

  4. Wow, this looks amazing! Love that the cashews are used to make this creamy.

    I just discovered your blog today and I LOVE LOVE LOVE how colorful it is, and how colorful (and flavorful) all the beautiful food you make is. I love the southwestern/ethnic-fusion kick you've got going on. I think we would get along ;)

  5. I love mix-in-1 type of bowl dishes!!!

  6. This sounds amazing!
    I've been seeing the cashew trick recently and I've been really curious to try it. Sounds amazing applied to risotto!

  7. @foodfeud - what DOESN'T fennel taste amazing with! Fav pairing - bourbon and tomato. As in, stew. Plus lentils. Heaven.

    @Scott - NICE there's a similar joint in NYC and another that is mac and cheese only. Awesome.

    @Natalie - you're a total sweetie. Thanks for the kind words.

    @Jessica - hell yes, risotto is queen of the single pot!

    @Rachel - cashews are super awesome. Careful, it's easy to go overboard!!

  8. Beautiful! This looks great. Risotto is so wonderful, I need to make it more. Never would have thought to add cashews to it! So clever.

  9. I suck at making risotto! This was super delicious, but every time I make risotto, the rice is never done right and it takes almost twice the amount of liquid. Grr! It was still super good, and the extra time makes me appreciate it more. Thanks for posting

  10. this is a very good quality food made from smoked food. it is delicious and very yummy.

  11. It's so true that smoked meat is very good. On the other hand, the rice is so tasty.

  12. My family loves smoked meat and rice. I'll try this recipe.

  13. Really easy to make and really healthy food as well ! Nice post, keep posting recipes like this !

  14. Not a massive fan of risotto, but I made this one and it was bloody delicious!

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