Posted on January 5, 2015
Growing up in an Italian household, risotto was a specialty in my family’s kitchen. What began as plain rice would eventually turn into luscious, hearty, al-dente pieces of deliciousness tossed with butter, herbs, tomatoes and parmesan. Then, all the leftovers would be covered in breadcrumbs and deep fried to make arancini, traditional Sicilian rice balls. To say my childhood was filled with Arborio rice would be an understatement. Risotto truly is the ultimate comfort food: it’s hearty, creative and completely customizable.
Being a risotto lover, you can imagine my surprise after being served an oversized spoonful of risotto as an amuse bouche during a recent wedding cocktail hour. I started wondering why everyone isn’t serving risotto at their wedding events? It could be served as a plated appetizer, fried it to make arancini, mashed with vegetables for risotto cakes…the list goes on and on. The beauty about risotto is that it’s a wonderful base for just about anything. You get the idea.
So to continue my love affair with risotto, I decided to make my most recent risotto adventure with my favorite vegetable: sweet potatoes. I added in a few handfuls of leafy spinach, lots of freshly grated parmesan and plenty of minced rosemary. The finished dish was rich, buttery and the full of the unbeatable flavor of roasted sweet potatoes. I served one plate for dinner, another for lunch the next day and another for lunch the following day. It was simply *that* good.
Roasted Sweet Potato Risotto: Recipe slightly adapted from How Sweet It Is (Serves 4-5)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the chopped sweet potatoes with 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, pepper, nutmeg and smoked paprika, tossing well to coat. Spread on a baking sheet and roast for 35-40 minutes, until edges begin to brown and it’s nice and crispy. Remove and mash – using either a blender, food processor, potato masher or spoon. Set aside. Heat a small saucepan over medium-low heat and add the vegetable stock. Heat until hot. If it begins to boil, turn it down so it’s no longer boiling. Heat a larger saucepan over medium heat. Add in the remaining olive oil and butter, then add the shallots with a pinch of salt. Stir to coat and cook for 2-3 minutes until soft, then add in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Increase heat slightly and add rice, stirring to coat. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring 2-3 times until the rice is translucent and begins to toast. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add in the wine. Continue to stir as the rice absorbs the wine. When most of it is absorbed, add in about 1/3 of the warm stock. Repeat the process, stirring until the stock is all absorbed, then add another 1/3 cup. Repeat until all the stock is used and the rice is cooked to your liking. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the mashed sweet potato puree until fully absorbed. Stir in the parmesan cheese, spinach and rosemary, mixing to combine.
Serve immediately and enjoy!
Allana Mortell is aa perpetually hungry 20-something whose adventures in eating & tweeting throughout Chicago are documented on the internet. Lover of cupcakes, craft cocktails, slightly disobeying recipes and dessert first, Bytes is the foodie friend you’ve been looking for! For more recipes, stories about food and general ramblings, visit Allanabytes.