Posted by: lisetta | February 28, 2008

Risotto Delusions

When I first started dating a practicing Muslim several years ago, I made jokes about how the relationship couldn’t go anywhere because I could never cook him risotto. Before I knew it, I found myself actually enjoying the risotto cooked without wine. Ate it that way for years in his presence, with few complaints. What was I thinking?!

In tonight’s version of the dish, I thought I could make do with what my pantry provided, using organic vegetable broth, sweet onion, frozen sage, arborio and four types of mushrooms. With no fresh herbs and only about an inch of white wine, I really don’t know what I was thinking. Efficiency? Comfort? Who knows. Becky seemed to like it, and I ate two bowls, so it wasn’t a total failure.

I’m reminded, however, that risotto needs the slight tang that a splash of wine brings. Without that layer of flavor, the dish simply regresses to its basics: rice cooked in broth. No magic. Despite the high quality of the ingredients I did use, how could I have expected a savory result when I omitted such a basic ingredient? What we got was mediocre at best. Given how simple it is to procure and store the right risotto ingredients, I’ve got to be mindful about not letting this happen again!



  1. I love risotto. One thing I’ve been wondering though… is there a decent way to make a vegan risotto? My girl is trying to reduce her cheese intake for health reasons, and I just wonder if it could work without the cheese, or with something else to replace it. What do you think?

  2. You can definitely leave out the cheese in risotto — just make sure you use carnaroli or arborio rice. The cool thing about these is that they become ‘creamy’ naturally. You likely know more than I do about the science behind glutinous rice!

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