Ratatouille risotto - a creamy, flavourful vegetarian risotto loaded with ratatouille vegetables. Post sponsored by Essential Cuisine.
It seems strange that this is the first risotto recipe that I have shared on here as I make it a lot and it is one of my favourite meals. As a vegetarian, risotto used to be 'the' (as in, the only) vegetarian option on most menus.
Thankfully, the majority of restaurants have become a lot more accommodating towards vegetarians and vegans and the options are much more plentiful nowadays.
The years of having risotto as pretty much my only choice when eating out haven't put me off it however and I still eat it a lot at home, if not quite as often when eating out anymore.
This ratatouille risotto is one of my favourite versions that I make; I called it ratatouille risotto because it contains the classic ratatouille vegetables - peppers, courgette, aubergine and tomato, all mixed up with a creamy, flavourful tomato risotto base.
A good stock forms the base of any risotto and can make all the difference in flavour. I used Essential Cuisine concentrated vegetable stock to give a really good base flavour; it tastes like homemade stock, is gluten-free and doesn't use any artificial colours, preservatives, hydrogenated oils or MSG!
It is also really easy and handy to use as it is in concentrated liquid form in a squeezy bottle so you just squeeze some into a jug and mix in hot water; you can even just squeeze some straight into things like stir fries or pasta sauces for an extra burst of flavour.
As well as a good stock, I add flavour to this risotto with sundried tomatoes, plenty of herbs, some grated veggie parmesan and reduced fat creme fraiche for creaminess.
The vegetables and risotto are cooked separately to ensure that they are both cooked to perfection and are then stirred together at the end of cooking.
A word on stirring - the general consensus is that risotto should be stirred continuously while it is cooking but who has the time and patience for that really?!
I certainly don't. I don't stir my risotto non-stop, just every now and again while I potter round the kitchen and I don't think it suffers for it at all.
- 2 Tbsp oil from a jar on sundried tomatoes or olive oil
- 1 onion peeled and chopped
- 1 small aubergine cut into small dice
- 1 large bell pepper (I used orange) de-seeded and diced
- 1 courgette sliced
- 250 g (9 oz) chestnut mushrooms sliced
- 4 cloves garlic peeled and crushed
- 300 g (10.5 oz) risotto rice
- 3 Tbsp tomato puree
- 120 ml (½ cup) white wine (optional)
- 1.2 litres (5 cups) vegetable stock
- 8 sundried tomatoes finely chopped
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 40 g (1.5 oz) vegetarian parmesan grated (can use vegan parmesan or 2-4 Tbsp nutritional yeast, to taste)
- 5 tbsp creme fraiche (reduced fat is fine) (use Oatly creme fraiche or soy/oat/cashew cream for vegan)
- large handful fresh basil chopped (or a couple of heaped spoonfuls of pesto)
- salt and pepper
- Heat one tablespoon of the olive oil in a pan and add the onion, aubergine, pepper, courgette, mushrooms, garlic and a pinch of salt. Cook over a low heat, stirring regularly, for about half an hour until all of the vegetables are soft and most of the excess liquid has evaporated.
- Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a separate pan and add the risotto rice. Stir for a minute then add the tomato puree and the white wine if using and stir until the wine has evaporated. Add some of the stock, give it a stir and bring it up to a gentle simmer.
- Add the sundried tomatoes and oregano and gradually add the rest of the stock as needed, waiting until each addition has almost been absorbed before adding more and stirring the pan regularly until you have added all of the stock and the rice is tender.
- Stir in the parmesan/nutritional yeast, creme fraiche, basil, cooked vegetables and some salt and pepper. Check the seasoning and serve.
This post is sponsored by Essential Cuisine, thank you for supporting the brands that allow me to continue doing what I love – playing with food and making a mess of my kitchen.