Lemon sunchoke shiitake risotto

Risotto is a typical Italian dish that is not as finicky as its reputation might suggest–the key is adding a small amount of stock to the rice as you constantly stir, on repeat. This lemon sunchoke shiitake risotto is a creamy combo of earthy ingredients that I find deeply comforting in both process and outcome. Sunchokes (other names include: Jerusalem artichokes, sunroots, earth apples, and girasols) have a creamy texture on their own and can also replace potatoes in many recipes, like latkes. I love them in this recipe–roasted to caramelization, in perfect harmony with tender shiitake mushrooms and a ton of lemony brightness.

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This recipe is written for the solo risotto makers out there, but for me it is much more convenient (and done in 30 minutes!) if I have another person make it with me. In our kitchen, someone’s in charge of stirring the broth/rice while another person preps the additional ingredients. It’s more fun and less hectic because we get to chat and sip on the wine that’s leftover from the recipe. I’m a believer that you can make risotto with pretty much any vegetable/seasoning so, as usual, honor your own preferences. I’m already dreaming of all the pesto zucchini risotto I’ll be eating this summer.

It’s completely possible to make a rich risotto without the use of dairy products like heavy cream, butter, or cheese–the true source of the creaminess comes from the starch that builds as the rice grains are stirred and in constant friction with each other. So don’t rinse your rice! I like to use Arborio rice, but other short-medium grain high-starch rice like Carnaroli, Vialone Nano, and Maratelli are great options too. I added just a touch of nutritional yeast here which helps give the dish a slightly cheesy flavor. Fret not if you don’t have/drink wine–it can easily be replaced with more stock or a touch of another acid like apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, or verjus (a non-alcoholic grape juice).

Let us know if you whip up this risotto! #closedloopcooking


Lemon sunchoke shiitake risotto   by

Caramelized sunchokes are in perfect harmony with tender shiitake mushrooms and a ton of lemony brightness in this comforting, creamy risotto.

makes: 4 servings | prep time: 5 min | cook time: 25 min | total time: 30 min

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  • 4-5 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 lb sunchokes, about 2 medium, washed and dried
  • 1 large shallot, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cup cup Arborio rice (do not rinse)
  • 1 1/2 cup (~355ml) dry white wine (Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, etc.)
  • 2 tsp nutritional yeast (optional)
  • fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • raw or toasted sunflower seeds
  • juice from 1 whole lemon


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
  2. Zest and juice lemons. Set aside zest and place peels in a medium pot along with vegetable stock and bay leaves.
  3. Bring stock to a boil, then lower to simmer over medium heat. You’ll keep it simmering for the entirety of the recipe.
  4. While stock is coming to a boil, slice your sunchokes into 1/2″ thick rounds and toss with a couple teaspoons olive oil, salt, pepper, and any other desired seasonings. Bake in preheated oven a single layer on baking sheet for 20-25 minutes or until tender and golden brown, flipping halfway through.*
  5. While sunchokes are baking, heat a teaspoon of oil in a large heavy bottomed pan (like cast iron) and add shallot. Cook for 2-3 minutes until translucent, then add garlic, mushrooms, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until mushrooms are soft, about 5-6 minutes. Remove from pan but do not clean out pan.
  6. Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil to the pan and once hot, add rice. Toast for 2-3 minutes until grains are less opaque. Deglaze the pan with wine and cook until mostly absorbed/evaporated, about 4-5 minutes.
  7. Increase heat to medium-high and add about one cup of stock from your simmering pot. The pan is ready for more stock when you drag a clean line through the mixture with your spatula and the rice slowly comes back to the center. It’s important to keep an eye on your rice because if it waits too long for more stock, it will dry and begin to stick/burn to the pan. 
  8. After the initial one cup of stock, add in remaining in 1/3-1/2 cup increments. Test at around 15-17 minutes to get a sense of doneness. You may or may not use all of your stock, but you know that it’s ready when it’s creamy yet al dente. This is more of a cook-it-til-it’s-done recipe and will depend on a lot of factors and your personal preferences. My rice cooked in about 30 minutes total.
  9. Once done, remove from heat and stir in onion-garlic-mushroom mixture along with nutritional yeast, lemon zest and more lemon juice if desired.
  10. Divide into two bowls and top with sunchoke rounds, sunflower seeds and chopped parsley. Enjoy right away–it will continue cooking as it cools, becoming slightly gluey.


*Alternatively, coat another cast iron pan in a thin layer of olive oil and fry sunchokes with a pinch of salt and pepper for 5-7 minutes on each side or until golden brown and crispy. Remove from pan and set aside on a towel to remove excess oil. This works best if making risotto with two people because the rice needs constant stirring.

**You can keep the shallot-garlic-mushroom mixture in the pan when toasting rice.This method is closer to how risotto is traditionally made.

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