Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sweet Potato and Spinach Risotto

Sweet Potato and Spinach Risotto
Home Cooking

I have a terrible memory for the past. While some people can recollect events from when they were children, I have trouble remembering things that happened last year.

Every now and again, a blast from the past swims to the surface and I find myself thinking 'hey... that was cool'.

This is a story from when I was younger. It's not much of a story actually. Basically, mum was never very experimental with food and tended to steer away from Western food. One day she brought home a risotto premixed packet from Woolies. It contained rice, spinach, semi-dried tomatoes and cheese. She cooked it in the rice cooker and it turned out great (for my standards at the time, keeping in mind that I had no idea what risotto was 'supposed' to be like).

I suddenly felt in the mood for that exact risotto one time last week. I bought spinach and some bocconcini and started Googling for recipes. One of the first results that came up was for a sweet potato and spinach risotto. I remembered I had a sweet potato sitting in the fridge and decided this would be a perfect way to use it up.

Sweet Potato and Spinach Risotto
Serves 3-4

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 med-sized sweet potato, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 3/4 cup of arborio rice
  • ~ 1 L chicken stock
  • 200g baby spinach
  • 50g bocconcini
  • ~ 1/4 cup semi-dried tomatoes, torn up

1. Heat up some olive oil and a tsp of butter in a medium-sized saucepan and cook the onion until soft.
2. Add the arborio rice and fry gently on medium heat until slightly translucent.
3. Add the sweet potato cubes.4. On a medium-low heat, gradually add the stock ladle by ladle. Do not add the next ladle until the previous ladle has been completely incorporated. Gently stir the rice to help the stock get incorporated (without breaking up the rice grains).
5. After about 20-30min, the rice should be near ready. By that I mean it should be slightly al dente (cooked with some bite in the center, as opposed to gooey and porridge).
6. Stir in the spinach, bocconcini and semi-dried tomatoes. Season.7. Serve warm.

I was worried the sweet potato wouldn't cook in time with the rice but everything seemed to work out well. I love the freshness of spinach with the tangy, full-flavored semi-dried tomatoes. The bocconcini adds some interest because while it does melt to some extent, you get bursts of mild, creamy cheese.

The addition of sweet potato seems slightly out of place to me. I can't decide whether I like it or if it was just unnecessary.

Risotto sweet potato close-up

I do like the sweetness and change in texture. But whilst the rest of the ingredients have a Mediterranean theme, I'm not sure about sweet potato. Maybe I should just be more open-minded to creativity?

I should mention that I stored some as left overs and it was NOT good reheated. Finish your risotto on the day please.

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