Ready, Set, Risotto for Spring!


I was thrilled to feature the amazing Chef Luca Paris on Jazzy Vegetarian Radio today! Chef Luca has shared two amazing vegan risotto recipes with us, including his Grilled Asparagus Leek & Lemon Risotto and Mushroom Risotto with Caramelized Onions. (Recipes below). I thought it would be fitting to also share my quick Mushroom and Summer Squash Risotto, featured on Season Five of Jazzy Vegetarian on Public Television, and in my new cookbook, Laura Theodore’s Vegan-Ease.

Chef Luca Paris is the Executive Chef and owner of Luca’s Mediterranean Café, The Market at Luca’s, and Luca’s Culinary Journey Catering in Keene, New Hampshire. He is the recipient of “Best Mediterranean Restaurant,” “Best Fine Dining Restaurant,” “Best Caterer in New Hampshire,” and “Best Restaurant in the Monadnock Region,” from New Hampshire Magazine. In January 2014, Luca was voted New Hampshire Chef of the Year by the NH Lodging and Restaurant Association. Luca has his own weekly talk radio show, “What’s Cooking with Luca Paris” and he has been a featured chef in the national culinary magazine Culinary Trends.  Listen to the radio show here.


With my ease-y Mushroom and Summer Squash Risotto, constant stirring is not required, making this a perfect risotto to prepare for a quick springtime, weeknight meal. Summer squash stands in well for the cheese adding color, texture and moisture. Just chop up a few key ingredients, give it an occasional stir and it’s ready to serve!

So are you Ready, Set, Risotto? Lets spring into these tasty recipes now!



Mushroom and Summer Squash Risotto

By Laura Theodore

Recipe from Laura Theodore’s Vegan-Ease.



Makes 2 to 3 servings


2⁄3 cup diced onion

8 ounces cremini or white button mushrooms, chopped

3 cups filtered or spring water, plus more as needed

1 vegan bouillon cube, crumbled

1 cup Arborio rice

½ cup peeled and diced yellow summer squash

Chopped fresh flat leaf parsley, for garnish


Put the onion, mushrooms, 1⁄2 cup water and crumbled bouillon cube into a medium-sized saucepan. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, about 7 minutes, or until soft. Add more water, 2 tablespoons at a time, if needed, to prevent sticking.


Decrease the heat to medium-low (or low) and add 1 cup of the water to the onion-mushroom mixture. Stir in the rice, cover and cook for 7 to 8 minutes, or until the water is almost absorbed. Stir the risotto thoroughly; add 1 more cup of water, cover and cook for 8 to 10 more minutes, or until the water is almost completely absorbed.





Grilled Asparagus Leek & Lemon Risotto

By Chef Luca Paris


Serves 6


1 bunch of asparagus spears trimmed, grilled and then chopped into 1 1/2-inch pieces

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup leeks, diced

1 shallot, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup arborio rice

1/2 cup white wine

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon lemon zest

5 cups vegetable stock

Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

1 ½  tablespoon fresh thyme leaves


Toss the asparagus in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the grill (grill pan or outdoor grill) till marked and flavored. Cut into 1 to two inch pieces after grilled.


Heat remaining olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the leeks & shallots and cook till translucent minutes.  Add the garlic till incorporated for a few minutes.


Add the rice and heat it in the saucepan, stirring constantly, for about two minutes. Lower the heat to medium-low. Add the white wine, lemon juice, and lemon zest, and cook, stirring till the white wine has been absorbed.


Add a cup of stock to the pan and cook, stirring as needed, till the stock has been absorbed. Continue adding stock in 1/2- to 3/4-cup amounts, stirring each time until the stock is absorbed. Continue this process until the rice is creamy and still has some texture. When it is complete, add the asparagus, fresh thyme and salt and pepper to taste.





Mushroom Risotto with Caramelized Onions

By Chef Luca Paris

Serves 6


1/3 cup Olive Oil, divided

4 Yellow Onions

4 Cloves Garlic, finely minced

1 pound Cremini Mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

1 Large Sprig Rosemary

1 cup Arborio or short-grain white rice

1/2 cup dry White Wine

2 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar

2 cups Vegetable Broth

Salt & Pepper to taste


Chop one of the onions into a fine dice. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a 3-quart heavy sided pot. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring until soft and golden. Push the onions to the side of the pot, and turn the heat up to medium-high. Add all the sliced mushrooms and let them cook for 5 minutes without stirring. Flip the mushrooms and cook for another five minutes, or until they are quite brown and a fond is developing on the bottom of the pan.


Add the rosemary and rice stirring a few times to start the rice cooking. Turn the heat to high and add the white wine, and vinegar. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pan as you add the liquid to deglaze the pan. Stir in the salt and pepper.


Add a cup of stock to the pan and cook, stirring as needed, until the stock has been absorbed. Continue adding stock in 1/2- to 3/4-cup amounts, stirring each time until the stock is absorbed. Continue this process till the rice is creamy and still has some texture.


While the rice is cooking, make the caramelized onions. Heat the remaining olive oil in a cast iron skillet. Cut the remaining three onions in half, and then slice them into thin half moons. Add them to the oil and sprinkle liberally with salt. Cook on low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions turn a dark mahogany brown. Let them go as long as you can (30 minutes is a good time frame if you can do that before you start the risotto).


Dish it up, and top each bowl with a spoonful of caramelized onions, a little extra pepper, and, if desired, a scoop whipped Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese.