Yesterday at the farmers' market I bought 4 North Carolina sweet potatoes for 90 cents. I love the farmers' market!! This past week I tried (successfully) to make it through the entire week without doing a major food shopping to make up for some of the budget busting weeks around the holidays. I admit I had to make one trip to Harris Teeter for some milk, orange juice, and pretzels - not bad!
Risotto is one of those dishes that you can cook as a side dish or you can make it the main meal. Risotto is surprisingly easy to make and always delicious. Being a sweet potato lover, I decided to experiment wiith sweet potato for our risotto-as-dinner concoction last night and it was a huge success.
1 sweet potato 1-2 tablespoons olive oil 1/2 medium onion, chopped 4 cloves garlic, diced 1 cup arborio rice 1/4 cup white wine (or even a rose if you are making a sweeter risotto) 2 cups (or more) chicken broth 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese splash of cream if you desire
1. Wrap the sweet potato in a paper towel and cook on high in the microwave for about 2 minutes until soft. Depending on the size your sweet potato, you might need more time. Set aside.
2. Saute onions and garlic in the olive oil. Add the arborio rice. Coat the rice with olive oil. I usually salt the rice at this point and use the low sodium broth to compensate for my extra salt at the beginning.
3. Add the 1/4 cup wine to the hot rice, onion, and garlic. For this recipe, I had an open bottle of rose in the fridge so I used that because I knew that this risotto would be sweet with the sweet potato, but usually I just use whatever white wine is in the fridge. And, if there is no wine in the fridge, there will be no wine in the risotto.
4. Add 1 cup of the broth and stir well. Stir pretty continuously while cooking over medium heat. I prefer to use a wooden spoon for my risotto and some risotto afficionados would tell you that you MUST use a wooden spoon. Add the second cup of broth after the first has been absorbed. Keep stirring.
5. Peel the sweet potato, mash it with a fork for a bit and then add it the risotto. Stir well. After the second cup of broth has been absorbed, test the rice to see if it is soft and delicious. If it is still too hard, add more broth and keep stirring. Add the parmesan cheese.
6. If you wish, you can add a bit of cream at the end. Last night, due to the fact that we had no parmesan cheese, I did add some cream at the end, but usually I forego the cream because I think risotto is creamy enough without it.
Risotto is so easy to make and you can add absolutely any vegetable - fresh or frozen - that you have in your house. Kids and adults love this dish - as a meal or a side. Enjoy!