Risotto is one of those dishes you make with love. It takes a little time, you have to be attentive, and when it comes together it’s so comforting and delicious on a cold day. This one is pretty simple, it’s your typical risotto but vamped up with bacon, herbs and pureed sweet potato!
Risotto is pretty easy to make on a whim if you have the basic ingredients. You want a short grained rice (Arborio is best), chicken or vegetable broth, your seasonings and some Parmesan. It’s also a great recipe to get used to the “a little of this, a little of that” cooking style which is incredibly hard for me since I’m so used to working with exact measurements in baking. The process is the same for all risottos. Start by putting your chicken broth over heat on the stove. I’ll usually work with about 4 cups, which is the large container sold in stores. Then, saute chopped onions or shallots in melted butter, add a little garlic (if you’d like), then the rice, stirring to toast it. The grains will turn translucent. A easy rule of thumb is a handful of rice per person. We’re going freestyle here, so get a little crazy and grab that wine bottle. A good splash or two or three is all you need. White wine is best. You can do red wine- but you’ll end up with purple risotto, eh which might be fun at a monster mash.
Now you get to the arm exercise portion of this recipe. Add a ladle of chicken broth and start stirring. Don’t stop! When it has been absorbed by the rice, add another. Keep going until you’re about 4-5 ladles in. At this point give it a quick taste test. If the rice is still hard, keep adding more liquid. If it’s soft, you’re ready to move on!
I found this recipe on How Sweet Eats and made it one cold night with an Audrey Hepburn movie on TV. I roasted cubed sweet potatoes in the oven and pushed them through a ricer to make a puree which was stirred into the cooked risotto. I also finely chopped a small handful of a mixture of herbs- basil, thyme, oregano, and sage. And I might have thrown some chopped bacon on the stove and crisped it up as a garnish. 😀
You can also add cooked chicken, shrimp, a mixture of spring veggies, mushrooms or all sorts of things. Usually the add ins are cooked and then added once the risotto is creamy. A drizzle of truffle oil on top is always amazing. 🙂
Sweet Potato & Bacon Risotto
Adapted from How Sweet Eats.
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 shallot or 1/4 cup onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1 1/3 cups dry white wine (Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay)
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons brown butter
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs: sage, parsley, rosemary, thyme, basil (use a mixture of what you have)
Preheat oven to 400F. Place the sweet potatoes in a bowl and add the nutmeg, paprika, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Stir to coat then pour out onto a baking sheet. Bake about 30 minutes (or until potatoes are fork tender) tossing every 10 minutes or so. Allow to cool slightly the mash with a fork or in a ricer.
Let’s get the other things ready that you’ll need. For the browned butter, place 2 tablespoons in a small saucepan and heat over medium to high until brown bits start to form on the bottom. It will sputter then foam and you’ll start to see the brown bites in the foam. As soon as that happens take it off the heat and set aside. For the bacon, chop uncooked bacon into small stripes, saute until very brown and crispy (almost all of the fat will cook away). Drain and pour on top of a paper towel lined plate. Set aside.
Put the chicken or vegetable stock in a small sauce pan on the stove and heat over medium.
In a medium saucepan, saute the shallot in 2 tablespoons of butter. Once translucent add the garlic cooking for 30 seconds or so. Stir in the rice, toasting it in the butter. It will turn slightly translucent (2-3 minutes). Pour in the wine and stir until it’s absorbed. Then start adding the broth one ladle at a time continuously stirring and waiting for the rice to completely absorb it before adding the next ladle.
Taste test the rice after 4 or so broth additions when it starts to look creamier. The rice should not be crunchy at all. If it is, keep adding broth and trying it to get to the right texture. Next, stir in the sweet potato puree, brown butter, and herbs (I reserved some herbs for to garnish). Spoon into bowls and top with the bacon, maybe a little extra parmesan, and herbs. 🙂
I’m totally on a root vegetable kick. Pumpkin tarts, sweet potato risotto, and a butternut squash just waiting to be roasted and made into soup. Fall is in the air!