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This porcini risotto wrapped up in savoy cabbage leaves makes a delicious vegetarian main meal for the holiday season.
If the slow roasted turkey leg, roulades or beef roast is not an option for you on Christmas, this sumptuous risotto cake might be the answer. It looks festive, it is filling, it fits most of the vegetable side dishes you could think of making and should you cook the Christmas dinner for both vegetarians and meat lovers, I can assure you that any meat lover would like a slice of this rice cake as well, either to accompany his piece of meat or on its own, because it just tastes so good.
This recipe was really a lucky pick for me. I had a whole list (I love making lists – the longer, the better) of vegetarian dishes that might be suitable for Christmas dinner. I wasn’t sure what would be best, but I thought I would try at least half of the list before finding a winner. But surprise! The first dish I cooked out of that list was a complete winner for me. I thought this might be something I would enjoy eating from the very beginning, otherwise it would not have made it on the list anyway, but I didn’t think it would be as GOOD as it was. Absolutely delicious! The rice was creamy and somehow sticky, the flavor given by the mushrooms and the white wine amazing and the caramelized carrot topping was a perfect fit.
The whole family loved this and as it was quite a lot of it and quite filling, we had it two days in a row. Nobody complained about that, quite the contrary, they were more than happy to have rice again the next day. And because I had to reheat it, I can tell you right now, that you are safe if you decide to make this a little bit in advance (the evening before or in the morning) and then reheat it. I suppose that served immediately is just a bit better, but trust me, you would like the reheated and stress-free version just as much. Or you could cook the rice and build the cake a few hours in advance and then bake it for 25-30 minutes instead the regular 15 minutes.
But if you are making it just before serving, it will not be a lot of work either. Making risotto is easy, although you have to stir quite a lot. And I never ever spend the whole time stirring, I just don’t have the patience for it, I just stay close to the pot and stir as often as I can think of. You will have to stand by anyway, the savoy cabbage leaves and the carrots need to be cooked as well, while the risotto is cooking.
I made this using vegetarian hard cheese, it was the first time I paid attention to the fact that Parmesan is not really vegetarian. Thank you Anca for pointing it out to me. But of course, if you are not strictly cooking for vegetarians, you can use the regular Parmesan instead. And the addition of dried porcini makes all the difference, I really loved their taste. And because I chopped them really finely, the kids didn’t even notice there were mushrooms in the rice, so they ate everything on their plate (except the cabbage leave 🙁 ) without complaining about the darn mushrooms. 🙂
Other vegetarian Christmas meals you might consider:
Camembert Cabbage Slices au Gratin (with vegetarian Camembert)