There are endless possibilities to variate a good vegetarian risotto. I like mushroom risottos of course but to this one I have also added asparagus and pepper.
At this instance I would like to preach a little bit of the importance of a good quality pan. It's important especially when making a risotto. The VegHog uses its Le Creuset cast iron casserole and can only recommend that brand to everyone. They're wonderfully non-sticking and also good looking.
Bunch of asparagus
Handful of dried porcini mushrooms
2 Gloves of garlic
Glass of white wine
Pepper and salt
First soak the porcinis in water and chop the onion, garlic and pepper. Chop asparagus into couple of centimeters long bits. Grate vegetarian pasta cheese. Warm up the vegetable stock in a saucepan and add some parsley to the stock. Later the soaking water from the porcinis can be added to the stock. Try to have everything prepared before you start cooking because the risotto needs to be stirred quite a lot.
Heat some olive oil in a pan and fry the chopped onion and garlic. Remove the porcini water and pour it into the stock and put the mushrooms into the pan. Fry for a while and then add the chopped pepper. Fry them until they all are nicely done.
Put about a spoonful of butter into the pan and once it's melted, pour the arborio rice in there. Stir the mix until the rice is translucent. Pour a glass of white wine into the hot pan and let it mostly evaporate.
Then add a ladle or two of stock into the pan and let it simmer while regularly stirring the pot. Put asparagus into the pan as well. It doesn't need that long to get tender, so it can be added at a later stage.
When the stock is absorbed add more until the rice is cooked al dente.
Add the cheese into the risotto. Season with salt, pepper and parsley and add more butter and even white wine if needed.
This is an excellent dish to serve to your friends. In fact it was The VegHog's friend who first taught it how to cook risotto.