Sweet Potato Risotto

One more savory, creamy, and hearty dish before we move on to lighter, brighter recipes for Spring!  Besides, it's kind of chilly and dreary here on the East Coast...  Naturally gluten-free (because rice, duh), and super easy to make vegan (use veggie broth and no pancetta or cheese on top).  If you are looking for a quick and hearty meal to make, this is it!
I had one more sad sweet potato left after roasting a few, and after getting creative with sweet potato gnocchi, I knew I couldn't resign it to a sad mash on the plate.  So instead, a happy mash gets added to risotto!  (Just go with it)
Don't be afraid of making risotto, it's not difficult, it's totally a case of a dish being more than the sum of it's parts, and it's super delicious!  Rice, broth, and stirring is really all you need to know.  We need a little onion, olive oil, salt and pepper, and sweet potato here too, but details.  You want to coax out all the starch from those little grains of rice, and slowly adding broth as the rice cooks is the way to do it.  You'll get a creamy meal, without the cream, but things are done when the rice still has a little bite to it, otherwise it's just mush all over.  I promise, it's easy!

Sweet Potato Risotto

2 tablespoons olive oil, or butter
1 small onion, diced
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)
4 cups broth (I always use chicken, but veggie if that's your thing)
1/2 cup mashed sweet potato, room temperature or hot, from about 1 medium roasted sweet potato
Parmesan cheese to top, if desired
Crispy Pancetta to top, if desired

In a medium saucepan, bring all of the broth to a simmer over medium heat on a back burner.  Keep the saucepan there throughout cooking the risotto.

In a separate medium saucepan, add the olive oil or butter and heat over medium heat for a minute or two.  Add the onion and saute for 1 minute until turning translucent.  Add the rice and stir, coating the rice in the oil, and cook for another 1-2 minutes until the rice is also turning translucent.  If using the wine, add now and stir until all the liquid has been absorbed into the rice or has evaporated.

Add a ladle-full of broth to the rice mixture and stir continuously, incorporating the two until there is no discernible liquid left.  Add another ladle-full of broth and continue stirring until absorbed again.  This process should take about 20 minutes of stirring, give or take.  If you feel the broth is being absorbed too quickly, lower the heat.  I usually have a bit of leftover broth at the end, using probably 3 1/4- 3 1/2 cups of it, but taste a bite after adding a few rounds of broth to determine your desired doneness.  I like the rice to still have some chew to it, but it's certainly not crunchy.

When cooked to your desired doneness, add the mashed sweet potato and stir to incorporate.

Serve immediately.  Season with salt and pepper as desired.  A sprinkle of parm cheese and crispy pancetta will really take this over the top, but remember that both are salty, so wait to salt and pepper the risotto until you have the toppings figured out.
Enjoy :-)

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