Don’t you hate it when one bad experience ruins something for far too long? At some undetermined meal, an undetermined number of years ago, I tried a risotto and it was terrible. Really, really terrible.
For many years, I had the phrase ‘Oh no, I don’t really like risotto’ in my vocabulary. In a very polite tone, mind you. But I was quite convinced that I didn’t like risotto.
Then at some point last year, The Boy had the day off while I was at work, and he decided to cook something he had never cooked before. I came home to a house that smelled lovely, promptly got excited for dinner and then realised it was…risotto. And became terribly nervous.
Obviously I wouldn’t want to hurt his feelings, but after all, ‘I don’t really like risotto’. What’s a girl to do?
This is what: eat the flipping risotto and learn that you do like risotto after all. You just had the bad experience of eating a rubbish one in a restaurant that really should have been sent back to the kitchen, but being a risotto novice, you didn’t know this, and instead have spent upwards of five years of your life going around thinking you don’t like risotto when really: YOU DO.
Now we make risotto a couple times a month, just to remind me of my stupidity.
We are quite fond of one from the veggie Leith’s book made with courgettes and cheese, but I found myself with sweet potatoes and no cheese and this worked just fine. I am of the camp that you can do no wrong with sweet potatoes. I would eat them for all five of my five-a-day if it was allowed. But The Boy is rather paranoid about them currently, having read an article like this, and also, he thinks they are really too sweet for most dishes. But he ate this and didn’t complain. And more importantly, didn’t die. Which means I think I will make it again sometime, so I better write this one down.
Sweet Potato Risotto
(serves two people who are going to eat more than they really should, or more than two who know that there will still be food in the world tomorrow.)
3/4 cup (before cooking) risotto rice
1 cup white wine
4 to 5 cups very hot vegetable stock (no, I do not make stock. Unless boiling water + OXO cube = ‘making’ stock. It works just fine.)
3 sweet potatoes
salt, pepper, oregano and coriander
*Wash the sweet potatoes and bake them until soft. Set aside to cool.
*Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan. Throw in the rice and mix around in the pan until covered with oil. Keep on medium heat until the grains start to become transparent (a minute or two). Reduce the heat.
*Start to add the liquid. Add 1/2 cup wine and 1/2 cup stock and keep slowly stirring. Set the temperature to just barely simmering.
*Then there is this lovely process of adding more liquid and stirring more. All very slowly. Like ‘bring a good book to read’ slowly. Or ‘practice your pirouettes on the kitchen floor’ slowly. If you just sit and stare at it, it may get a bit boring. Never fear. Just add little by little, stir it so it doesn’t stick and whenever it starts to get too thick, add more liquid.
*Once pretty much all the liquid is absorbed, add the salt, pepper, oregano and coriander. Keep stirring.
*Chop the cooled sweet potato into bite-sized pieces and throw into the saucepan. If the risotto is looking too thick or the rice isn’t soft enough to eat yet, keep adding more stock.
*That’s it. Put in bowls and eat. Try to come up with a good retort to ‘They are called sweet potatoes because they should be for dessert’, but fail miserably.
(Can totally be made without the wine—but seems to need more stock and a while longer to break down without it.)25 January 2008