Guest Post: Veggie Risotto

For my second guest post I enlisted the help of my friend, Molly Erdman, one of the funniest ladies I know, and a great cook to boot!  You have to check out her fantastically awesome blog, Catalog Living, one of the only things out there that actually makes me laugh out loud.  Molly isn’t vegan, but she was up for making an amazing vegan dish to share with you guys.  I cannot wait to make this one when I get back in town.  I’m drooling just looking at the picture!  Take it away, Molly!

Risotto can seem like a daunting dish to attempt, but the reality is that it’s pretty darn easy.  The trick is simply to plan ahead and be organized, with all your ingredients ready to go.

I started making risotto a couple of years ago and have experimented with lots of different ingredients, and then one day my love of Mexican food gave me an idea: Mexican Risotto!  I mean, why not?  This has more ingredients than any risotto purist would ever allow, but I think it’s a great combination.  And of course, you can edit these ingredients to your liking.  If you like things a little spicier (I do!), you can add a little chipotle powder to the chorizo when you cook it.  Of course the spiciness of soy chorizo will vary according to the brand, so definitely give it a taste before adding anything.

Mexican Risotto with Cumin Roasted Vegetables
Serves 4

4-6 cups vegetable broth
2 medium zucchini, cut into half coins
2 cups corn (about 3 ears’ worth)
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons cumin powder, divided
6 oz. soy chorizo
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 small red onion, diced
1 cup Arborio rice
1 cup red wine (I use Cabernet)
1 small can diced green chiles (I like the fire-roasted ones from La Victoria)
1 large avocado, sliced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro or parsley, for garnish

Pre-heat oven to 450 F.

Pour vegetable stock in a medium-sized pot and heat on low.

On a baking sheet, lay out the zucchini. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and half the cumin.  Give it all a good mix with your hands so that everything is evenly coated, then push the zucchini to the outer border of the pan.

Put the corn in a bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper, and the remaining cumin, then put the corn in the center of the baking sheet.    Keeping the corn in the center will keep it from burning.  Spread everything out evenly and try not to let things overlap.  Cook for about 7-8 minutes, then give everything a nice little shake, then cook for another 7-8 minutes until things are nicely browned.  Remove from oven and set aside.

While the vegetables are roasting, heat a large sauté pan on medium-high heat (the same one you’ll be cooking the risotto in).  Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and then the soy chorizo, mashing it up with a wooden spoon to get it into small bits. Remove the chorizo and set it aside, but leave any remaining oil/fat in the pan if there is any.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan.  When the olive oil has had a chance to heat up, add the garlic, followed by the onion.  Let those sauté until the onion is translucent, and then add the Arborio rice.  Using a wooden spoon, keep the rice moving in the pan, making sure it doesn’t burn or stick.  After 3-4 minutes, add the red wine and let it cook down a bit.

Now it’s time to start adding the stock, one ladle at a time.  Every time the stock gets mostly absorbed by the rice, it’s time to add another ladle-full.  (A lot of people will tell you that you have to stir constantly and can’t turn away for a split second or your life will be ruined.  I wouldn’t go take a nap or anything, but if you need to step away to grab a drink or let the dog out, you’ll be ok.  Best to do those things right after you add a new ladle of stock though, just to be safe.)

It should take about 25-30 minutes to get the rice al dente.  At this point add the zucchini, corn, green chiles, cumin, and soy chorizo and get everything all mixed in there.  I actually like to add all that stuff just before it’s the right texture, to give it some time to all cook together.  Add one more ladle of stock and you should be in good shape.  The consistency should be a little fluid, not a solid mass of rice.  Add a little more stock if you need it to get it to that point.

Garnish with sliced avocado and cilantro (or parsley if cilantro makes you angry).

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2 Responses to “Guest Post: Veggie Risotto”

  1. Made this tonight for dinner. Other than the soy chorizo (I left that out) I followed the recipe exactly and it was delicious! Paired it with grilled tempeh steaks (marinated in Mexican spices) – it was the perfect duo. Thank you for this recipe.

  2. So glad you liked it, Angela!