In the north of Italy, when Milan was under Spanish rule, slock-cooking principles were combined to the local shorter-grained rice and local spices to create a dish that we know today as “Risotto alla Milanese”.
Risotto is a simple versatile dish that can be served by itself, or as an accompaniment to Ossobucco, and remains quite tricky to make. A perfectly cooked risotto should have a rich, hearty, creamy and toothsome texture. I have taste so many rushed and incorrectly cooked risotto and it makes you want to throw the dish in the garbage. But when it’s done right, it is divine! All you need is a few ingredients to flavor the rice, time, and remembering the few primordial steps.
Here is the few key steps to get a perfect Italian nonna risotto:
(these are steps for general risotto. specific steps for this recipe will be found below)
- Choose the right rice: Use a short-grain risotto rice. The most common and easy to find is the “Arborio” rice, but the most typical and ideal would be “Carnaroli” or “Vialone” Italian rice. The specificity of these rices is that they are high in amylopectin, a starch that readily breaks down when cooked. This is why you get that characteristically creamy texture, even without any cream. Whole-grain rice won’t give the same result, as the outer layer of ban prevents the amylopectin from being released during cooking.
- DON’T wash the rice: You need as much rice starch as possible to make it super creamy.
- Bring your broth to a boil: before you start cooking your risotto. You want your broth to be warm when stirring it in your risotto. If you add cold broth to a hot rice, you will end-up with a hard, uncooked kernel in the center of your rice grains.
- Don’t burn your onions and rice when toasting: Always toast onions and rice in oil, ghee or butter before adding wine or liquids. But make sure that they don’t brown!! This is crucial!! If you burn the onions or rice, it will not only ruin the flavor, but also lock in the rice starch essential for the creamy texture of the dish. You just want to toast onions and rice until translucent.
- Deglaze your rice with drinkable quality wine before adding the main liquids.
- Add liquids one ladleful at a time: Traditionally, Italians add 7 times liquid to a risotto. It is possible to use vegetable broth, coconut milk, almond milk, water, or any liquid that seems fitting with the recipe you work with.
- Always stir from the beginning ’til the end. Stirring helps to release rice starch responsible for the creamy toothsome texture of a risotto.
Now, it’s time to make your own Honey-Rosemary Roasted Sweet Potato, Scallion & Sage Risotto!
Servings: 4 normal appetites
Notes: Vegan, Vegetarian, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Kosher-Parve.
You will need…
- 2 tablespoons Ghee (click here to learn how to make Ghee)
- 2 tablespoons grape seed oil (or 4 tablespoons of grape seed oil if you are not using Ghee)
- 1 tablespoon garlic, crushed
- 3 scallion stalks, minced (white and green part separated in two bowls)
- 2 tablespoons fresh sage, minced (reserve some leaves for the decoration, to serve)
- 2 sweet potatoes
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1½ cups risotto rice (Arborio, Carnaroli or Vialone)
- 1 cup white wine
- 4½ cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup vegan parmesan cheese, reserve some to sprinkle on the risotto to serve (click here to learn how to make vegan parmesan cheese)
- pink himalayan salt or kosher salt + pepper to taste
- large hard anodised pan (deep, non-stick pan)
- wooden spoon (to stir)
- First, peel and cut the sweet potatoes into chunks.
- Place the chunks in a cooking dish and add some water to cover the bottom of the chunks. It will help to make them super smooth and tender during the cooking. Then, toss in honey and rosemary.
- Roast in the oven at 205°C (400 °F) for 30-40 minutes, or until tender, tossing occasionally to prevent burning. Remove from oven and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, bring your vegetable broth to a boil over medium-high, then reduce the heat to a low simmer and cover, so the broth remains warm.
- In a large hard-anodized pan, heat ghee and oil (or only oil) over medium-high. Wait until ghee is completely melted.
- Add garlic, white part of the scallion and sage. Cook, stirring for 2-3 minutes.
- Add rice, stirring about 3 minutes, mixing it properly with everything, until rice is slightly translucent.
- Add white wine and stir until liquid is absorbed (about 3 minutes).
- Add the vegetable stock, 1 ladleful at a time, stirring until liquid is fully absorbed.
- When all the stock is absorbed, stir in the roasted sweet potato chunks, vegan parmesan cheese, green part of the scallion, salt and pepper. Stir and combine everything 30 secondes and turn of the heat.
- Serve immediately, topped with more vegan parmesan cheese and sage leaves.