I think it is cold almost everywhere right now. If it is warm where you are, can I come visit? I wish I could hibernate for the winter, but every day I am forced to face the frigid temperatures. The only thing that seems to help ease the winter blues for me is warm, comforting meals. Risotto is one of my favorite comfort foods. We recently made roasted sweet potato and spinach risotto to warm up and it definitely did the trick.
A few tips for making risotto: use arborio rice, an Italian, short-grain rice. Make sure you toast the rice in hot butter before adding liquid, this will help maintain a slightly chewy texture to the rice. When it’s time to add liquid, add it gradually. We used vegetable broth, but chicken or beef broth/stock will work as well. Only add one cup of hot broth at a time. Make sure your liquid is hot, cold broth will stop the risotto from cooking. Stir, stir, stir! You will need to stir the risotto frequently to help release the rice’s starch. You don’t have to become attached to the pot for 30 minutes, but don’t walk away for long, the risotto will need your attention, so plan on becoming good friends. Use a high quality Parmesan cheese to finish off the risotto. You can taste the difference, so splurge a little and buy the “good stuff.”
Risotto recipes are very versatile. You can add vegetables, chicken, seafood, or even fruit. I really love the roasted sweet potatoes in this risotto. They give the risotto a hint of sweetness. I threw the spinach in at the last minute and I am glad I did. It added great color to the risotto. It still isn’t the prettiest dish, but it sure is the tastiest! Risotto is very satisfying. We served it as a main dish with a salad on the side.
If you are looking for a tasty way to warm up this winter, try roasted sweet potato and spinach risotto.
Roasted Sweet Potato and Spinach Risotto
Yield: Serves 6-8
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cups vegetable broth
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 shallots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh spinach
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Place the diced sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing once, until very tender. Set aside.
3. To make the risotto, heat the vegetable broth in a medium sauce pan. Simmer on low while you make risotto.
4. In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the shallots and garlic on medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, or until browned. Add the rice and stir until all of the grains are coated with butter. Add the white wine and cook for about 2 minutes. Add one cup of broth to the rice and stir with a wooden spoon until the broth is absorbed, 5 to 10 minutes. Continue to add the broth, one cup at a time. Keep stirring the risotto. When the mixture starts to dry out, add more broth. Continue until the rice is cooked, this will take about 30 minutes.
5. Remove pan from the heat. Stir in Parmesan cheese, spinach, and roasted sweet potatoes. Stir until well combined. Season with salt and pepper and serve warm.
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