This morning I went to the farmer’s market hoping to buy some nice fresh greens to make a big salad. The leafy greens, sadly, had all sold out or wilted in the heat. But there were plenty of lovely yellow wax beans, so I decided to make instead a risotto con verdure–which just means risotto with vegetables. Wax beans have a buttery sweet flavor and a slight crunch, which makes a great contrast against the creaminess of the risotto. I added some peas for ‘2-bean’ preparation, and shiitake mushrooms for umami savoriness. The result is a perfect balance of each ingredient’s distinct flavor. (Note to self: Maybe I’ve been watching too much Chopped?)
Don’t hesitate to make risotto because it’s “hard”–the only laborious part of this dish is the stirring, and I think that part is kind of fun and weirdly therapeutic. (If you’ve been stressed lately, go ahead and take it out on the rice!) Full of summery flavors, creamy yet al dente, the end result will more than justify your efforts.
Vegan Risotto with Shiitake Mushrooms, Wax Beans, and Peas
2 cups arborio rice
4 cups vegetable stock
1 small white onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lb yellow wax beans, ends trimmed and chopped into 1″ pieces
3/4 cup frozen or fresh peas
5-6 medium shiitake mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
1 tsp tomato paste
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1. Heat a large saute pan, wait 20-30 seconds, and add 1 tbsp oil. Swirl it around the pan, then add the garlic, beans, and mushrooms. Salt and pepper generously, then cook for 5 minutes or until the beans are just done. Take out of the pan and set aside in a bowl.
2. Heat the stock in a medium sauce pan, and add peas. In the meantime, add the remaining oil to the pan, then add the onions and the rice. Stir to coat the rice with oil. Make a little room at the center of the pan and add the tomato paste, letting it sizzle for about 10 seconds before stirring it into the rice.
3. When the rice starts to turn translucent and smells toasty, it’s time to add the stock. Add about 1/2 cup of hot stock to the rice and stir vigorously for a few minutes until it evaporates. Repeat this until all 4 cups of stock is used up, or about 18 minutes from the first adding of stock. Taste the rice–it should be creamy yet chewy with that al dente “bite.” Take off the heat.
4. To serve, scoop the risotto onto a plate or a shallow bowl, and then add the mushroom-wax bean mixture on top. Bon appetit!