One of the few things to be said of the government-regulated monopoly that controls alcohol supplies in our province, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, is that it publishes an excellent magazine called Food & Drink. I was browsing the winter edition and found a wonderful new recipe for risotto by Leeanne Wright.
Now, normally, risotto is something I make instinctively, using whatever I have on hand. I can make it in my sleep, and it is possible that I have done so, on occasion. So it’s unusual that I would pay attention to a formal recipe.
What got my attention were the words “Roasted Mushrooms” in the heading. I’ve never considered roasting mushrooms. And the recipe further called for roasted sweet potatoes as well. I love roasted veggies, and I love risotto. Combining them seemed an inspiration.
My tweak on the recipe is that I used both sweet potatoes and yams (since I had one of each).
Risotto with Roasted Mushrooms and Sweet Potato
1 sweet potato
About a dozen large cremini mushrooms (they will shrink, so the larger the better)
2 oz (60 g) pancetta, chopped up in cubes
2 shallots, diced
½ cup (125 mL) dry white wine
3 cups (625 mL) chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup Arborio rice
Several sprigs of fresh thyme, chopped up
Optional: toasted pine nuts
Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and spray it lightly with olive oil. Stab the yam all over with a knife and put it on the sheet. Peel the sweet potato and cut it into small cubes. Put the cubes on the sheet. Slice the mushrooms and spread them on the sheet too. Spray the sweet potato and mushrooms with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put them all in the oven.
The recipe said they’d need 50 minutes or more, but the sweet potato and mushrooms didn’t need that long in my oven. So keep an eye on them. Remove the mushrooms when they are curly and caramelized, the sweet potatoes when the corners are browned. You will want to eat them both like candy. Resist.
Warm the stock in a saucepan or the microwave. Heat up some more olive oil in a large saucepan and throw in the pancetta to cook. Add shallots and let them go limp. Add the rice, coat with the oil and stir until it is shiny. Add the wine and stir and then slowly add the stock. If you run out of stock and the rice is still too hard, add water.
Meanwhile, the yam should be done by now. Take it out, peel it and mash it. If you want to use the pine nuts, put them in the oven briefly to toast (this happens quickly, so pay attention).
Add the mashed yam into the rice mix. Keep adding more water if need be. Stir in the thyme. Finally, when the rice is getting close to being ready, stir in the sweet potato cubes and the mushrooms (if you haven’t eaten them all by now), as well as some grated parmesan. Stir through. Serve with pine nuts on top. Try not to eat in one sitting.
We are now so fond of roast mushrooms that I’ve used them in several other dishes since, including pasta. I may put them on ice cream one day.