No recipe says fresh produce like risotto. While it might not seem like the most natural combination (it’s a warm dish, after all), risotto is actually the perfect blank slate to add in those farmer’s market vegetables and herbs that are on their way out. Since arborio rice is a pantry staple in my home, a good risotto isn’t difficult to make as long as you remember one thing: it requires constant stirring. Not the dish to make when you’re juggling 12 things in the kitchen at once, risotto asks for your full attention and the end result is so worth it.
It’s also a great dish for the kiddos to learn how to cook by stirring, just make sure they understand stove safety first. A favorite comfort food any time of year, the ingredients for most pantry risottos are simple: cooking stock (chicken stock or mushroom stock are common), freshly grated Parmesan cheese, dry white wine, and an array of vegetables, like butternut squash. I’m always on the hunt for the next best risotto recipe, and it seems the next on my list is this Mushroom Risotto with Cauliflower Rice from Paleo Hacks.
A healthier take on risotto and truly grain-free with the cauliflower rice, this popular recipe was saved on Pinterest over 43,000 times. You can use a large saucepan, but I’ve actually made my best risotto in a wok. A Dutch oven is a good last resort, but you’re best beginning with a wok or deep skillet. To learn more about wok cooking, check out our quick guide here. Now, let’s break down this recipe to see if it’s right for your cooking routine!
Because risotto has a longer active cooking time, it’s key to portion out your ingredients beforehand using the mise en place approach. I’ve found that this creates a less stressful cooking environment when all you have to do is add ingredients instead of worry about chopping fresh spinach, Brussels sprouts, sweet peas, and even fresh Italian parsley.
Using a food processor, Paleo Hacks creates cauliflower rice but if you’d prefer to stick with the traditional arborio, you’re more than welcome to add grains to this recipe. You’ll begin the recipe over medium heat and when the mushrooms and garlic are fragrant and brown, you’ll turn down the flame to low heat and begin to stir to begin emulsifying the stock and the cauliflower rice. You can turn this recipe fully vegetarian by swapping out vegetable or mushroom stock for beef stock.
Personally, I love adding in all sorts of vegetables to risotto because it’s such a blank canvas. Frozen peas, fresh herbs on their way out, leeks, radishes, and even broccoli makes an appearance. When I’m feeling luxurious, I add in cooked bacon and mascarpone cheese with lots of ground black pepper and sea salt flakes. You can also make Instant Pot risotto, or try pressure-cooker risotto, but I prefer the old-fashioned way if only because it’s a good arm workout.