Well given food prices are rocketing I tried using barley instead of Arborio rice. It was a success, filling, healthy and still really yummy! NOTE: This is very filling and quite rich in flavour. So I sometimes serve half portions with some nice green beans or other summer Veg/green salad. It keeps in the refrigerator great in an air tight container or ziplock bag. It tastes great the next day cold or re-heated and so we take the leftovers for filling lunch at work.
Instead of the sage, you can user 3 tbsp fresh chopped rosemary (2 tsp dried).
Parmesan cheese is not truly vegetarian, as it contains animal rennet. To make this dish 100% vegetarian, omit the cheese or find a suitable vegetarian substitute made without animal rennet. In supermarkets look for the 'parmesan style hard cheeses' which are suitable for vegetarians.