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Fueling Up with NASCAR's Leilani Münter: A Meatless Monday Recipe

This rich risotto will get your motor running

All Animals magazine July/August 2012

  • Leilani Münter                         Douglas E. Murray

Even when circling the track at 180 miles per hour, Leilani Münter is spreading a message of compassion for animals. At Daytona’s International Speedway in February, Münter’s car was painted to resemble the movie poster for The Cove—the Oscar-winning exposé on the annual dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan. “The goal of my race car this year is that every time I hit the track, I’m addressing a different issue,” says Münter, who was dubbed the world’s top eco-athlete by Discovery’s Planet Green channel.

The longtime vegetarian is now planning to do something similar to promote the Meatless Monday campaign to NASCAR’s 75 million fans. “I feel like that’s a doable thing for anyone on the planet. … And then I can only hope that Meatless Mondays starts to pour over into their other days of the week—once they see how great vegetarian and vegan food is.”

Following is Münter’s recipe for a rich risotto that’s sure to rev up your taste buds.

Leilani's Wild Mushroom Risotto

(Serves 4)

½ ounce dried porcini mushrooms
5 cups vegetable stock
1/3 cup vegan margarine
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 to 2 red chili peppers, deseeded and chopped
½ pound wild mushrooms, halved if large
¼ pound button mushrooms, sliced
2 cups Arborio rice
2/3 cup white wine
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

1. Soak porcini mushrooms in 1¼ cups of very hot—but not boiling—water for 30 minutes.
2. Drain, setting aside the mushrooms and soaking liquid.
3. Pour vegetable stock into a saucepan and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.
4. Melt margarine and olive oil in a large, deep skillet.
5. Add onion, garlic, and chili peppers; cook gently for 5 minutes.
6. Add fresh mushrooms and drained porcini; cook for 4–5 minutes, stirring frequently.
7. Stir in rice and cook for 1 minute.
8. Strain soaking liquid and stir into the rice with a little of the hot stock. Cook, stirring frequently, until liquid is absorbed. Continue to add more stock, a ladleful at a time, until rice is tender and risotto looks creamy.
9. Add wine along with remaining stock. When all liquid is absorbed, season with salt and pepper.
10. Remove from heat; add chives and parsley.

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