Kalamata and Porcini Risotto

Kalamata and Porcini RisottoI was in the mood for experimenting the other day, and decided to try a tomato-based risotto, which isn’t exactly a classic in Italy. To take the experiment the extra step, I decided to add a large amount of olives – something I’d never found in risotto in Italy. Even my mom didn’t have any traditional secrets for cooking the olives for me when I called her just before starting to cook. But the result of this experiment was incredible; this is truly one of the most delicious risottos I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. I would strongly recommend you try cooking and eating this one soon, and then let me know how it went in the comments section below!

Ingredients (serves 3-4)

  • 500g risotto
  • 40g dried porcini
  • 200g forestiere/chestnut/whichever basic kind of mushroom you prefer, sliced
  • 2 portobello mushrooms, chopped
  • 300g jar of kalamata olives
  • 1 small white onion
  • 2 red onions
  • 500g peeled plum tomatoes
  • 150g tomato puree
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 vegetable stock cubes
  • 1 tbsp vegan margarine (or other butter substitute)
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • a small glass of white wine
  • salt
  • pepper

Kalamata and Porcini RisottoPreparation (1 hour)

Start off by putting the dried porcini in a bowl and filling it up with water, making sure all the porcini are well submerged. Chop up the red onions into small pieces and put on a pan on medium high heat, with a generous amount of olive oil. Chop the cloves of garlic in half and add to the pan. When the onion is completely golden brown, add the margarine, and as soon as it has melted, all of the mushrooms except for the porcini. When they’re completely cooked, but not yet starting to turn crispy, drain the porcini and add them to the pan. Mix everything around for about 5 minutes, then add about 3/4 of the olives. Next add the peeled plum tomatoes and puree. Don’t break apart the tomatoes for now, just mix everything together. After about 10 minutes, turn down the heat slightly, and continue to stir for another 10 minutes. Add salt and a generous amount of pepper, and set it to the side. Set a kettle to boil as much water as you can. In a large, non-stick pot, pour some olive oil and margarine (about 50/50) and, on maximum heat, add the white onion, chopped very small. When it’s turned golden brown, add the risotto rice. Stir for about 4 minutes until the rice is slightly toasted, then add the wine. Mix very fast until almost all of the wine has evaporated, then add the mushroom and olive sauce. Mix everything together, then add the vegetable stock and about 2 tbsp of salt, and about 300ml of water. Stir everything, and continue stirring pretty much continuously until all of the water has evaporated. Then add another 200ml of water and repeat. Continue adding 200ml of water and stirring until you’ve added a litre of water in total, then taste the rice. If it’s still not completely cooked, add another 100ml of water, and if for some reason it still isn’t cooked after that continue adding small amounts of water until it is. When it is, take it off the heat and add the nutritional yeast and the rest of the olives, stir it all in well, and serve. Prepare yourself for some seriously delicious risotto!