Most people think of risotto as a special occasion dish because the perception is that it takes a long time to make and a ton of stirring. It takes a bit of time and a little stirring but not as much as we tend to do here in American versus Italy, where it is a popular everyday dish. I use to slave over risotto as well until I watched my friend’s mother who was visiting from Italy make a most effortlessly and delicious risotto. The key here is to cook the dry risotto first and then add hot liquid to it for a quicker dish. This recipe is a simple plain risotto that you can serve as a main dish or as a side dish. Since I don’t use dairy in my cooking, I substitute parmesan cheese with Mimic Creme. But the risotto will be pretty creamy without it in case you cannot find the Mimic Creme. Remember that this cream is made with almonds and cashews so beware if you have an allergy to these nuts.
- 1 cup of arborio rice
- 2 cups of vegetable broth (hot)
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil plus extra for serving
- 1/4 cup of Mimic Creme
- 3 teaspoons of Earth Balance spread
- 1 large onion diced into small pieces
- 4 garlic cloves diced into tiny pieces
- 3 teaspoons of fresh thyme
- 1/4 cup of cooked peas
- hot water in a tea kettle nearby
- salt and pepper to taste
In a 2 quart pan and over medium heat, place 1 tablespoon of olive oil and one teaspoon of Earth Balance with the diced onions. Cook onions until translucent. Add thyme and cook for a minute stirring. Turn heat to low. Add another teaspoon of Earth Balance plus garlic and stir while cooking for two minutes so that garlic doesn’t burn. Add uncooked arborio rice and remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and stir everything together cooking for 5-8 minutes. Add hot vegetable broth, stir everything together including scraping anything stuck at bottom of pan and turn heat to medium until liquid simmers. Turn heat to low and cover to cook for 20 minutes checking in that mixture is still moist and is not sticking to the bottom. Stir mixture and add bits of hot water as needed until rice is soft and creamy. Add mimic cream, peas and remaining Earth Balance and stir together while it cooks another 2 minutes or so. Taste and add salt and pepper. Serve immediately. Serves 4 as a main dish and 6 as a side dish.