Legen-dairy Risotto

“Non-dairy risotto? Fuck do you mean, non-dairy risotto?” Italian hands intensify

<sarcasm> This was definitely the first thing my mother said to me when I told her about this recipe. 100%. For real. No takebacks. </sarcasm>

Hi, readers of an obscure cooking blog. I’m Diana’s son, Drew. She made me, and now I have to pay taxes and get oil changes and, you know, live and shit. I went to an incredibly expensive culinary school in upstate New York, where I learned I never wanted to set foot in a professional kitchen again. Cooking for myself was something I never got to do, because since I did it at work I never wanted to do it at home. This is my version of taking back something I loved, and I get to work through a little undiagnosed work-related shell shock while I’m at it. 

We’re doing non-dairy risotto today because my darling mother is allergic to milk. Thankfully, imported Italian parmesan cheeses are usually made from sheep’s milk! Read the label! Also, if you’re feeling it, you can just use parmesan cheese and butter in the green can. Nothing’s stopping you from getting your cow on.

If you don’t know what risotto is, you can find out here. I find I get better results out of Google when you season your language. Alright, let’s cook.

INGREDIENTS (sorted by grocery store aisle)


  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 medium size onion, chopped
  • 1 bunch Asparagus
  • 8 – 16wtoz (weight ounces) Mushrooms, sliced. 8 if you like ’em, 16 if you love ’em. (Fun fact, the only difference between white button mushrooms and creminis is that the white ones are grown in the dark. They’re the same ‘shroom otherwise. If your grocery charges more for “baby bellas,” they’re ripping you off. Get whichever is cheaper, or get a medley, whatever you lich-en 😉 )


  • 1c Arborio rice (a typical small package is more than one cup’s worth, but it’s gotta be the short-grain Arborio. Long grain rice like jasmine or basmati doesn’t have enough chutzpah to become risotto)
  • Olive oil
  • 32floz chicken stock


  • 3 – 4 Chicken thighs (I think dark meat has more flavor, personally, but if you prefer white meat then get it. Who’s stopping you, me? Tell me “fuck you,” and get some chicken titties. Also, trim your chicken. They leave some of the fat on to weigh the chicken down a little, but you really don’t need that extra fat where we’re headed.)


  • 1/2 – 1c Parmesan cheese (imported brands are usually made from sheep cheese, if you’re dairy-free. It also just tastes better, to be honest)
  • 1 wtoz unsalted butter (that’s about a quarter stick, Americans. Substitute with Earth Balance vegan butter for dairy-free)


  • Salt & Pepper (duh)
  • Garlic Powder
  • Thyme
  • If you’re feeling up to it, I usually add a dash of cumin and cayenne with my garlic powder. I think it makes the chicken really pop, and it blends into the rest of the dish pretty well.


  • A pot to blanche asparagus
  • A large pot for the risotto (bonus points if you use the same pot for asparagus and for combining risotto. The less dishes, the better.)
  • Frying pan for sautéing chicken and mushrooms
  • Wood spoon
  • Tongs
  • Knife and cutting board
  • Mixing bowl full of ice water
  • Strainer


  1. Start some salt water in the large pot for the asparagus, and start the frying pan to get it hot. You’re looking for medium to medium-high heat on the pan, you’re going to be cooking chicken and sautéing mushrooms in it. While the pot of water’s heating up, start the next steps. This is gonna take you an hour front to back, and half of that is the risotto. We don’t have a whole lotta time to fuck around here if we’re eatin’ tonight. Oh, and wash your damn rice. Just once should be enough, we like starch but don’t like whatever touched that rice before you got it.
  2. Add about 2T olive oil to the frying pan and put the chicken in skin-side-down. Season with S & P & G-Pow. Use the tongs to flip once it’s GBFND – Golden Brown and Fuckin’ Delicious. Err on the side of slightly overcooking the chicken here, you don’t want it uncooked when it goes in later. If you think you’ll have a problem gauging when the chicken is cooked through, get a thermometer. Pounding the chicken flat is an option, but it won’t be as juicy and delicious as it could be. You’re looking for 165 degrees in the thickest part and no lower.
  3. While the chicken cooks, cut everything you need to cut – the garlic and shallot should be minced, the onion should be chopped to rice-sized pieces, and the mushrooms should be bite-sized. You got a mouth, ask yourself “if this was a little smaller, would it fit in my face with a little rice?” That’s how big bite-sized is.
  4. Also while the chicken cooks, put your asparagus in the simmering/boiling salt water. When it’s cooked through, strain it and put it in the ice water to shock. We use hot salt water because flavor, like water, finds the lowest point in its container. The flavor of the asparagus will disappear in regular water, but it brightens up a little in salt water. The ice water doesn’t have to be salty, its only job is to completely halt the cooking process and make sure the asparagus doesn’t get all soggy. Asparagus should crunch, and we’re ensuring that by sucking all the heat out.
  5. When you’re done with the chicken, don’t you dare clean that fuckin’ pan or I swear I’ll slap you so hard you’re gonna wish it was COVID taking away your taste buds. In that drippy pan, add the garlic, shallot, some more olive oil, and the mushrooms. Season this little sauté with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and thyme. When you sauté mushrooms, the first thing they’re going to do is absorb all the liquid you put in. That’s okay, they’re just spoiled children learning to share. They take and say “mine,” but then you mean mug them and they’re all like “ugh, fine.”
  6. While you’re sautéing, use a little bit of the chicken stock (no more than 1/2 cup) and scrub the pan stuff into the saute. This is called deglazing, darling. If you’re not doing it with everything you cook you either don’t know about it or you’ve actively decided not to do it. This means we are either teaching you how to make good food or we are going to fistfight.
  7. Great time to cut the chicken and asparagus into bite-sized pieces. Okay, your mise-en-place should be done here. Risotto time.
  8. In your risotto pot, hit it with some olive oil, then sweat your onions. Give them a minute or two to start smelling sexy, and add your Arborio rice. You’re not looking to get too much brown on the rice here, but a little brown never hurt nobody. It’s going to add flavor. Bottom of the pan will probably start getting dirty again. Don’t let that burn.
  9. Once you have an acceptable level of brown on your rice & onion, start adding the stock little by little. You want to give the rice a chance to absorb the first bit before you add the next. Your routine should be:

    – Add small amount of chicken stock
    – Stir to combine
    – Let it sit a little bit to absorb
    – Stir a little to make sure there isn’t a lot of liquid left in the pot
    – Repeat

    It’s going to take time and patience, here. If you add too much too quickly you’re going to make porridge, and that’ll only attract selfish white girls that’ll break into your house, sit on all your chairs and sleep on all your beds. Stir, add, let it sit until the liquid is gone. Your heat shouldn’t be too high, the liquid should never go above a happy simmer. And season it, for christ sake! This is a great time to add less seasoning than you think you need. You can always add more while you’re tasting, but seasoning throughout the cooking process is important!
  10. The ratio for risotto is 1 part rice to 3 parts liquid. You should have enough chicken stock to deglaze the pan and cook the risotto, but if you need just a little more, use water. You’re cooking the risotto like you usually cook pasta – taste it, and if it’s al dente it’s good to go!
  11. To finish, we’re going to add our cheese and butter. Once you add this, there’s no turning back. You’re done. Because as soon as you do, it’s gonna get THICK. I’m talking Lizzo-thick.
  12. Stir in your chicken, mushroom sauté, and asparagus. Let all the flavors combine on the heat a bit, this will also let the ingredients get back up to temperature. Add your final round of seasoning to taste, and serve that bad boy.
  13. The leftovers are pretty versatile, by the way. I’ve had them cold with hot sauce, in an omelet and just plain reheated. Let me know what kind of use you come up with for the leftovers, I’m curious.