Vegan Asparagus Risotto

Risottos are wonderful “comfort foods” and this Vegan Asparagus Risotto is a great one. The key is to make sure that when the risotto gets to that magic place, when each grain of rice is soft and creamy, but still with a little texture in the very center. You must serve it up immediately! If you wait more than a few minutes, it gets too soft and gummy. That is why it is one of one of those things that I like to do with everyone already in the kitchen, sharing a glass of wine, conversing, telling jokes, etc.

-Chef Mario 
Vegan Sprint Risotto with Asparagus and Lemon (Serves 6-8)

What You Will Need

6 Tbsp.Earth Balance buttery spread, divided
¼ cupSliced shallots
2 Tbsp.Minced garlic
1½ cupsArborio rice (or another short-grain, high-starch rice like Carnaroli, Valencia, or Kokuho)
8 oz.Sliced button mushrooms (substitute Shiitake, Oyster, Crimini, or Chanterelles if desired)
1 cupDry white wine
6 cupsHot vegetable stock, salted to taste
⅓ cupVegan “Parmesan Cheese” substitute (more to garnish)
1 Tbsp.Grated lemon zest
2 cupsYoung asparagus, tips reserved and stalks sliced diagonally about ¼ inch long
⅓ cupChopped fresh chives
 Kosher/Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
 Fresh lemon juice, to taste
 Fresh chopped parsley, for garnish
Vegan Sprint Risotto with Asparagus and Lemon (Serves 6-8)

How To Make Vegan Asparagus Risotto

Melt 4 tablespoons of the Earth Balance buttery spread in a deep, heavy bottomed saucepan. Add shallots and garlic and cook over moderate heat until soft, not brown. Then, add rice and mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until rice is translucent, about 3-5 minutes.

Add the wine and cook, stirring often, until liquid is nearly absorbed. Put in the sliced asparagus stems and enough hot stock to cover the rice mixture and continue cooking, stirring often, and letting the rice absorb the stock before adding more. Begin testing rice after about 12 minutes. The rice needs to be creamy while the center of each grain still has some texture (but not hard). This will take 16 – 18 minutes total. Next, stir in the asparagus tips, lemon zest, and chives ¾ of the way through.

When the rice core is no longer white and crunchy, stir in the and vegan “parmesan cheese” and the remaining 2 tablespoons of the Earth Balance buttery spread. Then, season to your taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Serve in warm bowls garnished with Vegan “parmesan cheese” and chopped parsley.

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