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Vanilla Extract Is The Secret To Booze-Free Risotto

Mushroom risotto on gray plate
Mushroom risotto on gray plate - Vladislav Chusov/Getty Images

Rich and creamy risotto will always be an incredibly cozy dish. Whether you prefer yours with sweet seafood or savory mushrooms, one thing is for sure — a splash of wine is often considered the secret to great risotto. But what if you don't happen to have a bottle on you, or you just want a booze-free recipe? In those cases, vanilla extract makes an excellent substitute.

Wine not only lends acidity to risotto; it also infuses it with the nuances that the vino possesses. Based on what's in it, this could be a hint of floral flavor, a citrusy edge, or a crisp fruitiness. Those nuances often include undertones of woodsy vanilla because many red and white wines are aged in oak barrels, which gives them a slight vanilla finish. So, if you don't have a bottle of wine on hand for whatever reason, vanilla extract is your best bet for a flavorful substitute.

The ingredient shares the same boozy tinge, thanks to vanilla extract's alcohol content, and brings loads of deep, earthy flavors to risotto. Vanilla extract is commonly used on its own for desserts; for use in a risotto it should be mixed with stock to enhance the flavor. Add about a teaspoon or two of vanilla extract into stock to flavor your risotto.

Read more: 15 Boba Flavors, Ranked Worst To Best

Try Vanilla Extract Instead Of Wine In These Risotto Recipes

Truffle risotto on two black plates
Truffle risotto on two black plates - UliAb/Shutterstock

If you want to embrace the sweeter side of vanilla, this roasted garlic and butternut squash risotto is the perfect dish to do it with. The vivid flavor of the extract deepens the sweetness of the garlic and butternut squash, creating a more complex dish. The nuttiness of each ingredient complements vanilla's resinous taste, leading to risotto that tastes earthy and rich. Mix the vanilla extract into a light vegetable stock to elevate its flavor.

This autumnal pear and balsamic risotto is another great dish for exploring sweetness. While the juicy, buttery pear lends the luscious flavor, balsamic vinegar tempers it with a smoky, tangy kick, preventing it from entering dessert territory. Equally rich, vanilla extract grounds this light, airy dish beautifully. Stir it into chicken stock before simmering the risotto in the liquid to infuse the dish with a savory flair.

Vanilla is a wonderfully complex flavor, making it the perfect ingredient to add to saffron zucchini risotto. Earthy and sweet just like vanilla, saffron also has a grassy, floral quality. The melding of two strongly flavored ingredients is balanced by the zucchini's mild, delicate flavor. Once the saffron is done infusing the vegetable stock, add a tablespoon of vanilla extract and cook the risotto in the liquid.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.