Roasted Sweet Potato Risotto with Brown Butter, Bacon and Fresh Herbs
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 shallot, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1 1/3 cups dry white wine
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons brown butter
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs: sage, parsley + rosemary
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a bowl, combine chopped sweet potatoes with 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, pepper, nutmeg and smoked paprika, tossing well to coat. Spread on a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, tossing every 8-10 minutes. Remove and mash until pureed (or you could use a blender or food processor - I just used a potato masher), then set aside.
[Note: while the potatoes are roasting you can do other things, like cook the bacon or chop the fresh herbs to get it out of the way.]
Heat a small saucepan over medium-low heat and add chicken or vegetable stock. Heat until hot. If it begins to boil, turn down so it is no longer boiling.
Heat a larger saucepan or even a dutch oven over medium heat. Add in remaining olive oil and butter (not the brown butter), then add shallots with a pinch of salt. Stir to coat and cook for 2-3 minutes until soft, then add in garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Increase heat slightly and add rice, stirring to coat. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring 2-3 times until the rice is translucent and begins to toast. Reduce heat to medium-low and add in wine. Continue to stir as the rice absorbs the wine. When most of it is absorbed, add in about 1/3 of the warm chicken/vegetable stock. Repeat the process, continuously stirring until the stock is absorbed, then add another 1/3. Repeat until all of the stock is used and absorbed and the rice is cooked, making sure to take a spoonful and taste test. The whole process will take about 20-25 minutes. If the rice is still too chewy and dense, heat a bit more liquid and add it again, stirring. The rule I go by is to add enough liquid just to cover the very top of the risotto.
Once the rice is cooked to your liking, reduce heat to low and stir in about 3/4 cup the sweet potato puree. Take a few minutes and really stir so it is well-absorbed. Stir in parmesan cheese and brown butter, mixing to combine. Taste and season additionally if desired, but remember that you are going to add bacon on top!
To serve, place the risotto in a bowl and top with some additional cheese, a sprinkling of herbs, the crumbled bacon and then more herbs and cheese if desired. Serve immediately