Every aspiring chef has one dish they are a little intimidated to try. For me, that dish is risotto. Not only does it take time to make, but achieving the perfect consistency can be quite challenging. But I was finally up for it. What sparked this sudden kick of inspiration?
The Wynn Resort in Las Vegas teamed up with one of the best vegan chefs out there, Tal Ronnen, to create an exquisite vegan and vegetarian menu for every restaurant at the Wynn. I couldn’t be more excited to hear that more and more restaurants are catering to vegans and vegetarians, and with food that is actually so delicious, you won’t even miss the meat or dairy (truth be told, you probably won’t even realize it’s not there). Wanna bet?
In the hopes of turning all of you into believers, I chose to recreate his mushroom risotto with caramelized onions served at the Lakeside at Wynn Las Vegas. In my version, I chose to use portobello mushrooms instead of a mix of mushrooms, simply because I love portobello mushrooms. I also swapped the mushroom broth for veggie broth and omitted the cashew cream altogether. I added spinach for the extra nutrients and the bright green colour. The result was an amazingly flavourful dish that combined the earthiness of the mushrooms with the sweetness of the caramelized onions in one creamy bite. This dish is so delicious it even convinced my meat-loving beau (he had seconds)!
Portobello Mushroom Risotto
4 yellow onions
1 tbsp + 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb portobello mushrooms, sliced
1 large sprig fresh rosemary
1 cup uncooked arborio rice
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
2-3 cups baby spinach
1 tbsp Earth Balance*
1. Chop 2 onions. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic and reduce heat to medium-low, cooking for another 8 minutes. Keep an eye on it and adjust heat as needed to avoid burning.
2. Turn up the heat to medium-high and add mushrooms. Cook for 5-10 minutes, until mushrooms have reduced, stirring frequently.
3. Add the rosemary sprig, salt and pepper and cook about 2 minutes. Add the arborio rice, balsamic vinegar, then start incorporating the vegetable broth slowly. Start by adding a little, then let the rice absorb it while stirring. Add a little more and stir, so on and so forth. Once all the broth is added, reduce heat to medium-low and cover with a lid. Take a peek every few minutes to stir it up and keep an eye on it since it can burn fast.
4. In the meantime, heat 3 tbsp olive oil in a large cast iron skillet. Cut the 2 other onions in half and slice thinly into half moons. Add to the olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Cook on low, stirring occasionally until the onions are golden brown, about 30 minutes.
5. Once the risotto has absorbed most of the liquid but still has a creamy consistency, it’s done! Remove the rosemary sprig, then add the spinach and Earth Balance, stirring until the spinach has wilted.
6. Scoop risotto into a bowl and top with caramelized onions. You can also add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
[All photos are my own and not to be used without permission]