One of the first times I made a risotto was when I was an ovo-lacto vegetarian (vegetarian eating eggs and dairy products) and it all went very well until I added the cheese. You have to taste a risotto periodically to make sure the rice is cooked to perfection and so I did. The risotto was great, tasty, kind of like Rice-A-Roni but not as greasy. Then I added parmesan cheese because that’s what the recipe said to do. The whole thing instantly turned into a gummy, overly-salty, gluey mess. I ended up throwing it away. Moral of the story: vegan or non-vegan, don’t add cheese as the final step of risotto, it completely ruins a perfectly good dish.
1/2 an onion, minced (1 cup)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup arborio rice
4.5 cups water plus more water as needed
2 veggie broth cubes
1 cup frozen peas
1 chopped carrot
2 cups fresh spinach leaves
1/4 teaspoon fennel powder
1/4 teaspoon sage
a big pinch of black pepper
Fry onion in the bottom of a large stock pot in oil over medium heat until onion is translucent. Meanwhile, heat the water and broth cubes in a separate pan or container in the microwave until broth cubes are dissolved and broth is warm. Add the arborio rice to the frying onion and saute it until it toasts slightly and becomes translucent.
Add broth by the cupful. The rice will absorb the water as it cooks, making a thick sauce. When you have added half the broth, add the carrots. Keep stirring and taste-testing the rice see if it is soft. Once you have added almost all of the broth, add the peas. Keep stirring and testing, adding small amounts of water if necessary, until the rice is soft. Add fennel powder, sage, and black pepper once the rice tests as done.
Add spinach and stir, folding the spinach into the rice as it wilts. P.S. Whatever you do, don’t ruin it by adding cheese!