In this article, we're going to be discussing risotto. We'll tell you everything you need to know about the taste and texture as well as some tips, hacks and substitutions to make delicious risotto on the fly.
Let's hop to it...
What Does Risotto Taste Like?
Risotto is famously creamy in flavor. This is because it's usually made with ingredients like butter, cheese and sometimes cream, all of which are not vegan.
You may not be able to order risotto off the dinner menu of a non-vegan restaurant, but you can make it at home with plant-based versions of these items.
But the taste of risotto is more complex than just "creamy." It can have sweetness from onions and an earthy flavor from mushrooms and vegetable stock (watch out for risottos made with chicken stock). More often than not, it's peppered with zesty herbs like thyme and parsley.
This dish is as creamy in texture as it is in taste. Some risottos are almost soupy while others are heavy and dense, almost like a bowl of sticky rice.
Risotto rice is very soft with a gummy sort of chewiness. However, it should not be total mush. If this happens, it was probably cooked too long, but it will still be tasty.
What Is the Difference Between Risotto and Rice?
Short-grain rice is what's used in risotto. One of the most frequently used is Arborio rice, which becomes plump and juicy with just a hint of firmness as it soaks up liquids.
When you're making regular rice, you may be using long-grain or short-grain rice, but you're usually just combining it with water, lidding it and walking away while it cooks.
Risotto is combined with a multitude of ingredients, including stock, herbs and even vermouth. It's then cooked by adding a little bit of liquid to the rice at a time. It's a much more involved process than simple rice, and it's usually the main course rather than a side.
How Do You Know When Your Risotto Is Done?
You'll know when your risotto is done when it's soft and chewy but not hard. If your risotto contains crunchy bits, the rice wasn't cooked quite long enough.
Keep your risotto on the stove until you reach the desired texture. If it's not ready yet but it's getting dry, continue adding a splash of vegetable stock at a time and simmering until done.
Can I Use Regular Rice for Risotto?
You really need short-grain rice for the properly chewy consistency. That being said, there's nothing wrong with using regular rice if you're craving risotto and that's what's in your cabinet.
A quick risotto hack actually involves leftover rice from your fridge. Just combine it in a pot with the other ingredients for vegan risotto and sprinkle in a little flour if it's too liquidy.
Risotto Recipe Tips
Thinking of trying vegan risotto for dinner tonight? We'll help you get started with a couple of video links with slight variations on this decadent dish.
This risotto call for some specialty ingredients that you may already have in your kitchen, and if not, they're very handy to have around as they're so versatile.
Here's everything you need for this recipe:
- Vegetable stock
- Arborio rice
- Olive oil
- White wine
- Miso paste
- Nondairy cream or butter
- Vegan cheese
What's really interesting about this recipe is that it's a mashup of risotto and ratatouille. It's creamy with a gorgeous flavor medley from eggplant, leeks and asparagus.
Here are the ingredients:
- Red peppers
- Aubergine (eggplant)
- Cooking oil
- Fresh thyme
- White wine
- Watercress or arugula
Though most risottos are not vegan, you can easily make vegan risotto with plant-based ingredients. This dish is creamy, scrumptious and filling. Use mushrooms, sweet peas and fresh herbs for the ultimate dish bursting with flavor. The beauty of risotto is that you can add just about anything you'd like to it, so experiment with various veggies, herbs and even nuts and dried fruits like raisins and currants.