Risotto Primavera

Risotto Primavera

Serves 6 to 8 as a side dish.
By Dennis W. Viau; modified from a recipe learned at a presentation by three professional chefs.

Risottos require constant attention. You stay at the stove stirring the rice and adding stock for about 20 minutes until it is ready to serve. The constant stirring and the Arborio rice give risottos their creamy texture. This recipe was given to me by a professional chef. He created it for the vegans he serves.

Vegetable Stock:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion; coarsely chopped
5 leafy celery stalks; cleaned and coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves; coarsely chopped or crushed
3 large carrots; coarsely chopped
2 bay leaves
20 springs fresh parsley
About 10 peppercorns
Any additional vegetables, such as parsnip, rutabaga, etc., as desired, but nothing acidic (no tomatoes)

Ingredients:

¼ cup (40g) peas, fresh or frozen
¼ cup (40g) carrots; diced about the same size as the peas
¼ cup (40g) onion; diced
¼ cup (40g) squash; diced (butternut, banana, etc.—I can even see the possibility of using pumpkin)
¼ cup (40g) celery; diced
3 cups (about 700ml) vegetable stock, either homemade or store-bought (see below)
1 cup (200g) Arborio Rice
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt to taste
Optional: about 15 saffron threads

Directions:

For the risotto, dice one carrot, a stalk of celery, about ¼ cup of squash, and ¼ cup of onion. Also set aside about ¼ cup of peas, either fresh or frozen.

You can make your own vegetable stock from vegetable trim saved in the freezer. You need enough to make at least 3 cups of stock. Or you can buy some fresh vegetables, as I do. I use carrots, celery, onion, parsnip, rutabaga, some squash, and sometimes a leek (which has a strong flavor). Include anything else you might think would add good flavor to a stock. Chop the vegetables coarsely and place in a stock pot. Add enough water to cover. Add herbs such as 2 bay leafs, garlic, oregano, basil, whole peppercorns, anything you might have in the cupboard. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer 30 minutes. Allow to cool; then strain. You can wrap the cooked vegetables in a piece of clean cotton muslin and squeeze out more juice. This will make 7 to 10 cups of stock. The remaining stock can be frozen and saved for soups, such as Pasta Fagioli.

Bring 3 cups of stock to a simmer in a small saucepan. Keep the temperature low beneath the stock.

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan. Add the rice and stir. Add a ladle or two of stock and stir. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and continue stirring until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add another ladle of stock and stir the rice again until the liquid is nearly all absorbed. This first process should continue for about 10 minutes.

Add the diced vegetables and more stock. Continue cooking as above. Continue adding stock until it is all incorporated. The overall cooking time should be around 20 minutes. The finished rice should be al dente and the vegetables should be tender. Serve immediately.