Sweet Potato and Shallot Risotto

We haven’t eaten risotto in ages! For awhile, I seemed to be in a risotto rut… every time I glanced at withering veggies in the crisper, I immediately thought, “Risotto!” Risotto is so easy because it really can be a one pot meal. Just about any vegetable you have on hand can be used in a risotto. I have no idea why there seems to be any drama surrounding the making of risotto – it’s simple, I promise.

Aren’t they cute? 

A few weeks ago, I ordered some adorable fingerling sweet potatoes from my “virtual farmers market” here in Charlotte and when they arrived, I couldn’t wait to test them out. Sweet potatoes are one of those super-power veggies – full of fiber, beta-carotene, vitamin C, potassium … heart healthy, cancer fighting … the sweet potato gets all the great labels!  I hadn’t used the sweet potatoes yet and was looking for something easy to make for dinner … sweet potato risotto!

Risotto requires very few ingredients … arborio rice – it looks like plump little rice grains, broth, some olive oil, a little onions and garlic, and any vegetable you would like to add in… or no extra veggies at all.

Ready for the broth

Today I was running low on onions, so this became shallot and sweet potato risotto. Shallots are in the onion family. They are like a cross between onion and garlic – they are shaped onions, but are made up of large cloves – a little like garlic, they are also generally not very spicy and won’t pack too much of a punch when you use it in food for little people. Saute your onions, garlic, shallots, etc. in a little bit of olive oil and butter in a large heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven until the shallots are translucent. If you are using a vegetable that takes a long time to cook – like a sweet potato – add that in before you add the rice. If you are using a vegetable that steams pretty easily – like a summer squash or spinach – add that in at the end.

I like to add the rice and stir it a few times to coat it well with the olive oil and butter. I like to use olive oil and butter together because it becomes nearly impossible to burn that combination if you turn your back on it for an extra second or two. After coating the rice in olive oil and butter and letting it cook for a minute or two, add in the broth – I add in 1 cup at a time and I always use twice the amount of broth as compared to the amount of rice. Today I used 1 1/2 cups of rice so I used three cups of broth.

Stir well after each addition of broth. After the broth has been absorbed into the rice, add the next cup. Some people say you must stir the risotto constantly. I assure you that I have not constantly stirred my risotto while making it for at least five 1/2 years. Other people say that you must use a wooden spoon to stir the risotto. Hmmm… I love to use a wooden spoon to make risotto, but I sometimes grab whatever is close by and tonight that was definitely something rubbery plastic.

Sweet Potato & Shallot Risotto

As you stir, you will notice the risotto take on a creamy consistency. You do not need to add any actual cream to your risotto although I like to add some shredded parmesan at the end before my final stir. Delicious.

Ingredients:

Olive oil and butter
2 large shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1/2 pound to 1 pound sweet potato, chopped
3 cups broth (vegetable or chicken)
1/2 cup shredded parmesan

Directions: 

Saute shallots and garlic in olive oil and butter. Add the sweet potatoes – cook for a few minutes over medium heat. Add the rice. Add broth, 1 cup at a time, stir well to incorporate, keep the heat at about medium.

From the time you start adding the broth, it will take about 20 minutes until the risotto is ready.

Risotto is so filling that we usually serve this as our main meal with some fresh fruit or veggies on the side, but it is also great in small portions as a side dish or under a protein like fish or chicken or steak. Enjoy!

If the 6 month old is eating it, it must be delicious!

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