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I’m not one to judge anyone’s eating preferences, but cooking for vegetarians is nerve racking.  As you can see to left, the picture is my new kitchen in my new apartment that I moved into this weekend, please ignore the poor cellphone quality.  Anyway, I wanted to show off my kitchen and my apartment, and have some people over to celebrate. However, one of my guests yesterday, is a vegetarian, and even worse she’s a great cook, so the pressure was on.

I didn’t want to do the typical fallback of eggplant Parmesan, also I don’t think I could get my picky boyfriend to eat eggplant. He’s allergic to eggs and fears anything with the word “egg” in it and he’s highly suspicious of most veggie centered dishes too. Basically, I was set out the task of pleasing a meat and potatoes kind of guy and giving a vegetarian a meal she could eat and enjoy.

I decided that I would make risotto, but vegetarian style. I usually use bacon grease and chicken stock, but this time I traded it for olive oil and vegetable stock.  The other trick I decided to try was roasting my mushrooms instead of sauteing them.  I think it helped give the dish an overall meaty flavor without actually having any meat in it.

So here’s my Save the Vegetarians Risotto

Roasted Mushrooms:

Preheat oven to 400 F

combine salt, pepper, rosemary (or any italian-esque spice you have on hand), 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar, and 2 tbsp of olive oil with some mushrooms (anywhere from 8-16 oz). I used baby portabellos, but feel free to get creative. Put the mushrooms on a foil lined baking sheet and put in the oven for 20 minutes.

While the mushrooms are roasting you can start your risotto.

heat 1-2 tbsp olive oil in a deep skillet, and once the oil is hot add in a finely chopped shallot and 1-3 cloves of minced garlic. Once the shallot has softened, add 1 cup of arborio rice and toast it until it’s golden brown, about 3 minutes. Next, add 1/4 cup of white wine (I used pinot grigio cause that’s what I had, but I think the recipe traditionally calls for something more dry).

Once all the wine has been absorbed start adding WARM vegetable stock to the risotto, about half a cup at a time, as it’s absorbed into the arborio. Risotto does require some stirring, so I stir when I add a new 1/2 cup of stock and a few minutes after, and whenever I feel it’s necessary, just make sure it’s not sticking to the bottom of the pan. If you’re curious to the amount of stock, I buy 32 oz container of vegetable stock and use the whole thing, which is about 4 cups, but feel free to add up to 6 cups.  Sometime during this process your mushrooms should be done roasting, add the mushrooms and pan juices (if there are any) to the skillet.  Continue the 1/2 cup at a time process until you’re out of stock, remove the risotto from heat, then throw in 3 tbsp of butter and some fresh grated Parmesan on top.

Voila! you’ve created a classy vegetarian meal, for that non meat eating friend of yours and kept your carnivore boyfriend happy.

I might have also done a victory dance when my boyfriend admitted that this was his favorite way that I’ve made risotto.

What’s your vegetarian entree?