I made risotto.
Seriously – me – incredibly uncoordinated-in-the-kitchen meeeeee.
But I’ll never do it again.
Although this risotto is hands down the best thing I’ve ever cooked in my life, I sort of wonder if risotto is one of those dishes I should just order out at a restaurant…..
…Or happily inhale at a friend’s dinner party…any party that is not my own.
You see, I decided to have a little dinner party for my friends/fellow officers of the baking club. With all the blood, sweat, and tears we put into running Rutgers Student Bakers, we deserve some non club-related fun; and some actual food that is not in any way, shape, or form related to cupcakes.
So I thought I’d have everyone over for dinner and, overly-ambitious person that I am, told them all I’d be making risotto.
Why on earth did I tell them that?!
Ugh. So now I had to make it because, again, ambitious me is also a proud me and I didn’t want to say I chickened out because risotto is a terrifyingly arduous process.
On the day of the dinner, I decided I’d give myself two hours to make this dish.
Two hours should be plenty I thought to myself
Friends, everyone showed up at 7pm. Do you know when I was finished with the risotto?
Risotto, aka the longest process I’ve ever attempted in the kitchen in my entire lifetime.
Was it worth it?
But I don’t think I’ve ever shouted or cursed more in the kitchen in so short a span of time. It’s shocking how my life can feel like a sitcom when I’m cooking.
Jess (our main character): I’ll make risotto and give myself two hours – what could go wrong?
1. A ceramic dutch oven (a xmas present) cracks loudly as soon as it’s set over a gas burner. Terrified it will shatter, she wraps it up for garbage and starts again with the good ole’ cast iron.
2. The cookie sheet roasting sweet potatoes warps 5 minutes in, letting out a loud bang as it does so – scaring the bejesus out of our main character.
3. Main character forgets that adding liquid to hot oil will cause it to splash violently. Completely oblivious, she pours the wine into a measuring cup over the dutch oven, only to scream “AAAHHHHH” and swing her hand away to avoid being burnt, and ends up spilling half the wine all over the kitchen counters/wall/floor.
4. Main character also realizes what a lazy bum she is as she requires both hands and all of her arm muscles to continue to stir the risotto as it takes on more
and even more liquid.
By the time 6:58 rolled around, the risotto was done, and I was sweating as if I had I just run a marathon. I remember grumbling “you’re lucky you look so nice” to the inanimate plate of risotto before greeting my guests and sitting down to enjoy the spoils of my hard-won victory.
But, for all the screaming, shouting and mild freak outs, I can say that it was all worth it.
It was literally one of the best things I’ve ever eaten – and it was a smash hit at my little dinner party. You know you did a good job when your friends say they are full but then go back to the kitchen, armed with a spoon to scoop out seconds until the pot is clean.
I’ve got enough arborio rice to perhaps try one more time to tame the savage beast that is risotto, but for now I’ll just happily reminisce over this one.
Roasted Sweet Potato Risotto
Recipe Source: How Sweet It Is
- 1 medium sweet potato, peeled & chopped
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 diced shallot
- 1 tsp minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
- 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
- 1 1/3 cups dry white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
- 4 cups chicken or veggie stock
- 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 2 tbsp brown butter
- 4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 3 tbsp chopped fresh herbs I went with parsley and rosemary
How to brown butter: In a medium saucepan melt butter over medium high heat. Once melted, stir constantlyand continue to cook until butter turns rich brown color. Remove from heat immediately.
- Roast Potatoes: Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a cookie sheet with foil. Toss sweet potato chunks with nutmeg, paprika, salt, pepper, and 2 tbsp of the olive oil, making sure everything is well-coated. Spread out on cookie sheet and bake at 400 for 30 minutes, tossing every 1o minutes or so to keep from burning. Let cool then mash with potato mash (or use food processor). Set aside.
- Warm stock in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Don’t let it boil, just keep it warm.
- Make Risotto: Heat a dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat. Add remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil and butter (not the browned one, just the regular 2 tbsp) followed by the shallots. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and cook for 2-3 minutes until soft, then add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Increase heat slightly and add arborio rice. Stir to coat rice evenly in oil/butter mixture and cook until rice becomes translucent and slightly toasty, about 5 minutes.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and add in the wine, stirring continuously until the rice absorbs the wine. When most of it is absorbed, add in about 1/3 cup stock. Repeat this process until all of the stock is absorbed, only adding more stock when most of the previous batch has been absorbed by the rice. It should take about 20-30 minutes, and you may need more liquid. I ended up adding in about 2 cups of water at the end, but it varies so keep adding liquid until the risotto is no longer hard but is still a little chewy.
- Once the rice is cooked, reduce heat to low and stir in sweet potato mixture. Really stir it in so that it is completely mixed. Then, stir in Parmesan cheese and brown butter until fully combined.
- Remove from heat, and serve.
- To serve: place on plate/bowl and top with crumbled bacon, additional cheese, and fresh herbs.
All Photos And Writing Copyright © 2013 Jessica Gonzalez | On Sugar Mountain