My dad made risotto for my birthday dinner last year and I haven’t stopped thinking about it… and neither has Chris. He tried to suggest it for dinner ideas weeks after my dads. We ended up buying a prepackaged from the store and making it as a side one night and it just didn’t live up to my dads. Of course, nothing usually does.
My dad has been a chef for all my life, and then years before that. He’s told me that when he use to come home late after his shift, he would sit me on the kitchen counter while he would make himself something to eat and give me some of whatever he was cooking. That’s why he thinks I eat just about anything. So I guess it’s safe to say my love (*obsession*) for food started at a young age.
It’s also important to note, in all fairness, that my mom is also a pretty good cook and amazing baker so I get it from my mama too. 😛
Anyway, I talking to Chris while in the store grocery shopping and saw they had a good selection of seafood available. So we decided to cook scallops for dinner. I picked up some asparagus and Chris suggested risotto (of course) but I wasn’t going to oppose. Instead of picking up another prepackaged I decided I wanted to try to make it from scratch, despite my dads warning saying it wasn’t worth the time. But the Super Bowl was on and I only watch it for the halftime show (since the Jets haven’t won since ’68) so I decided to go for it. And after a mishap of pouring the entire bag of risotto into the pan and Chris making an impromptu trip to the store to get more ingredients, I have to give myself credit, it was pretty darn good! 🙂
It’s not your average risotto, I decide to create a twist of the usual scallops and potatoes and made a sweet potato risotto.
What you’ll need:
- 1 medium, 1 small sweet potato, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (I love nutmeg so I used a little more)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- olive oil
- 5 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 shallot, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Vigo Arborio Rice (you can really use any brand but this is what I used and the amount that the recipe I provided calls for) (2 2/3 cups)
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon parsley, and a pinch more for garnish
Directions: Heat oven to 400° F. Add the sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped about 1 inch cubes, into a bowl. Toss with nutmeg, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, and enough olive oil to coat the potatoes but not soak them. Once the potatoes are well coated, spread in a baking dish. Place in the oven for 30 minutes, taking out every 10 to toss. Remove and mashed until pureed and set aside.
In a small saucepan, heat stock on medium-low until hot. You do not want it boiling, if it starts to boil turn down the heat.
While the stock is heating, heat a large saucepan at medium heat. Add butter, olive oil and shallots, stirring to coat, about 2 minutes. Add garlic, stirring until the garlic starts to brown a little, about 30 seconds. Add rice [this is where I accidentally poured the whole bag. whoops.} and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the rice from sticking to the pan. Once the grains start to toast add 1 cup of wine (& pour yourself a glass) and stir so that the rice is evenly coated and starts to absorb the liquid, add in remaining wine. Now, if you do a taste test at this point, the wine will overwhelm you but hang in there it will cool down once you add the stock and puree. When the wine is mostly absorbed, pour in 1/3 cup of the heated broth and stir until the broth is also absorbed by the rice. Repeat this process with all the broth. You’ll want the rice tender but not chewy, so taste test when you’ve used most of the broth to judge how much more you’ll need to add!
When I was about half way done mixing in the broth, I started cooking the asparagus with a little bit of olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.
Once you’ve reached your desired tenderness, reduce heat to low, add in 1/2 cup sweet potato puree, and stir for a minute until it is absorbed, repeat process with remaining puree. Add in cheese and parsley (& if you’re me a little more nutmeg), stir to blend.
Since scallops cook quickly, Chris started seasoning them while I was mixing the sweet potatoes into the risotto. He heated the pan with olive oil and butter, and pan seared the scallops for one minute on each side.
After plating the risotto and asparagus, Chris added the scallops and used the remaining olive oil/butter mixture in the pan to top the scallops and risotto. Garnished the risotto with a little bit more Parmesan and parsley, and a pinch Parmesan on the asparagus (I <3 Parmesan).
Pour yourself another glass of wine and enjoy!