Are you ready to play a game? Well, you’ll have to read quite a bit more if you want to know what it is. If you’re too curious to wait, I put the game in bold letters so you can easily scroll down and find it. But what fun is that? If you do read on until you find it and you don’t enjoy yourself…. well, let me know and I’ll give you your money back.
I have made risotto exactly three times in my life.
The first time it was crunchy. Enough said.
The second time… it was good! I was as high as kite! I had followed the recipe. I had been patient and diligent at the stovetop. It was a bit creamy like it should be this time. No crunchiness. Praise the Lord. I was learning. I wondered what else you could add to this ridiculously delicious dish. But I didn’t dare venture out on my own.
The third time, it was made with sweet potatoes. And I got up the courage to write my own recipe.
Before this concoction I don’t believe I had ever had sweet potatoes in any other form besides the classic casserole. Most of the time topped with mini marshmallows. Or pecans.
Don’t get me wrong. I really love my sweet potatoes SWEET. But it turns out they have a savory side, too.
Do you remember the old Sears commercials? The tune played in my head but I’ve been singing these words instead: “Come see the savory side of sweet potatoes.”
If you don’t know what I’m talking about… never mind.
Alright. Let’s do this.
First I diced up some white and orange sweet potatoes. Call them what you like. Yellow. Orange. Yams. Whatever. I prefer the this variety, but I had some of the white that I needed to use or lose. This time of year sweet potatoes of all varieties are a dime a dozen, so if you were going to waste them this would be the most cost-effective time. But I wouldn’t recommend it. After all, a penny saved is a penny earned.
I drizzled the sweet potatoes with a bit of olive oil and seasoned them with salt and pepper. Then I popped them in the oven to roast for a bit.
While they were roasting I chopped some onion and minced some garlic.
You can’t go wrong starting a dish this way. I love the way it makes my house smell. I love the way it makes food taste.
I measured out my arborio rice. And you really must use arborio rice for risotto.
I also finely shredded up some Parmigiano Reggiano.
It pays to do your prep work when making risotto. You need to be stirring during most of the cooking time, and once you get started there’s not really time for things like grating cheese.
Risotto is not for a night when you’re up against the clock. It’s takes time. It’s a labor of love. For your taste buds.
And speaking of prep, you’ll also want to heat up a bunch of chicken stock. You’ll need it. And you want it hot.
Out came the roasted sweet potatoes.
I put about half of them in my food processor. The other half I left as is. You can puree all of them if you like. But at least puree half.
Large, heavy saucepan. Olive oil. Chopped onions. Minced garlic. Salt. Pepper.
An amazing aroma will follow.
I added the arborio rice and stirred until it was coated with the oil.
Time to do one of my favorite things in the kitchen…. DEGLAZE!!!
Sorry to yell.
Things like deglazing get me so excited. There’s something satisfying about pouring liquid in a hot pot and watching (and smelling) it sizzle. If you don’t understand I can’t explain. If you’ve never tried it. You MUST!!!
Sorry again for the yelling.
Now for the arduous part of making risotto. Press through it. Be patient. And you’ll be thrilled with the results. It’s actually a piece of cake. As long as you don’t mind standing over the stove and stirring. No better time than when it’s cold outside and you don’t mind heating up the house a bit anyways. Save your heater some work and use your stovetop instead. I wouldn’t do this in summertime though. No sir. Not me. Not in Phoenix. Not over my dead body.
I added enough of my hot chicken stock to cover all of the rice. Then I began to stir frequently.
At this point you might start to doubt me. It’ll look nothing like that risotto you once enjoyed in a restaurant. But then, something magical will start to happen. The liquid will reduce. The rice will absorb the liquid. The risotto will thicken. It will. It will.
Being patient this first time around is just a drop in the bucket. You’ve got three more chicken stock additions to go. YOU CAN DO IT!! You can. You can. Think ‘Little Engine That Could’… You can. You can. You can.
Now that I’ve made you a believer, hopefully it will take less convincing for this next leap of faith. You’ll have to add more chicken stock to your thickened risotto and start the thickening over again. This time, just a cup or so. It won’t take too long so your patience will produce results posthaste this time around.
Then you’ll add another cup. And then one more.
You really must babysit the risotto through these three additions. If distractions pop up around you, consider them wolves in sheep’s clothing. They could cost you your risotto. Do not give into them. I’m not talking emergencies of course. But that laundry? It can wait. That bathroom break? Hold it. Those crumbs on the floor? Sweep them later. If you do head off to indulge in one of them, remember my warning. Do an about face, get back to that stovetop, and stir your risotto!!
I’m not pulling your leg.
After this your faith in the thickening process will be secured. The next two chicken stock additions will no longer be a shot in the dark. Your faith will have grown by leaps and bounds. Your once liquid-laden rice will take a quantum leap to tender and creamy before your very eyes.
Was that enough idioms for you?
But actually there are several other idioms in this post.
Can you find them?
Comment and let me know how many you find.
And yes, I know. This is silly. But fun. No?
Don’t answer that.
After the final chicken stock addition was absorbed I stirred in that sweet potato puree.
Then I folded in those diced sweet potatoes.
A bit of butter and parmesan to finish it off and ensure its decadence.
Time to serve!
The icing on the cake is more shredded Parmesan or big shavings of the stuff. And some chopped fresh parsley for freshness and color.
I won’t beat around the bush. This was AMAZING!
And I couldn’t stop taking pictures of it.
You might think making risotto means biting off more than you can chew. But if I can do it, you can do it. If your first attempt ends up crunchy. You are not alone. Birds of a feather flock together my friend! Don’t be afraid to try again. Once you’ve been around the block a time or two you’ll get the hang of it.
And remember, when it comes to risotto, haste makes waste.
Here’s your recipe!
I will miss you until next time… but luckily absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Okay I’m done.
Ball’s in your court.
Okay now I’m really done.
Enjoy the recipe! And the idioms.