Marie here again from Sugar Salt Magic and this month I’m feeling ready for this cosy and comforting sweet potato risotto.
From sweet potato enchiladas to loaded turkey chilli stuffed sweet potatoes and even this sweet potato casserole, it is truly one versatile vegetable and works just as well in an ultra healthy meal as it does as total comfort food.
A delicious take on risotto
Risotto is an Italian rice dish, where the rice is cooked slowly in stock, with constant stirring, resulting in a creamy and comforting rice dish.
There are so many reasons to make this one of your flavourites. It’s creamy, comforting and smooth. Roasted sweet potatoes give this a rich flavour and along with the celery, there’s plenty of hidden veg to make this a hearty family dinner.
What you’ll need
- Sweet potato: the Jewel variety is my go-to here but most other varieties will work too and you could even swap it for butternut squash.
- Rice: arborio is the typical rice used. A short, fat grain that has lots of starch
- Onion, celery and garlic: these ingredients all give great flavour and provide the base for this dish.
- Stock / Broth: I use chicken but feel free to use vegetable to keep this risotto vegetarian.
- Parmesan cheese: Use real parmesan and if you can, buy it in block from and shred it yourself. Pre-shredded is often coated in flour and / or cornstarch to stop it from clumping.
- Butter: adds flavour and also silkiness to the finished dish.
- Prosciutto: This is optional but adds a nice umami to the finished dish. Leave it off if you want vegetarian.
Risotto – step by step
Roasting the sweet potato caramelises the sugars and gives it a deeper flavour. If you prefer to boil it, make sure to drain it well, even returning it to the hot pan to steam off excess moisture.
- Roast the sweet potato: Cut it into four long pieces, rub with a dash of oil and roast them cut side up on a baking tray. Bake until soft. (photo above left)
- The prosciutto: Lay it over the sweet potatoes and roast for a further 15 minutes. (photo above right)
- Mash: Discard the skin from the potatoes and mash the flesh with a fork. (photo above left)
- Soften the onion, celery and garlic: Just over medium heat, in a large skillet for around 10 minutes until it’s all looking softened and a little translucent.
- Add the rice: Give it a good stir around to get coated in everything.
- Stir in the sweet potato: until it’s well dispersed (photo above right)
- Start adding the stock: The stock should be hot and add it just one ladleful at a time waiting for each to be absorbed before adding the next. (photo above left)
- Add water: You may not need all the water, depending on the rice and moisture of your sweet potato but continue adding and stirring in the same way checking the rice regularly for doneness.
- Add butter and parmesan: Right after it comes off the heat, add the butter and parmesan and stir until it’s all melted and dispersed. (photo above right)
- Top with crumbled prosciutto and more thyme to serve.
How to know when it’s done
When it’s done, perfect risotto rice should be al dente – that means cooked through but still firm.
Risotto should not be gluggy but not soupy either. When you draw your spoon through it, it should gradually flow back together as one (not liquid flowing together).
If you prefer a thinner consistency add a little liquid, off the heat, until it’s right for you.
Tips and variations
- Hot stock: Your stock must be hot. If it isn’t hot, the dish will cool down and you’ll have to reheat between every addition.
- Keep stirring: This is the most important part of a good risotto. Constant stirring will help to bring out the starch and make the rice silky.
- Add the stock slowly: Good risotto takes time. You must stay with it and stir in the stock just one ladleful at a time.
- Eat it immediately: Risotto is best eaten as soon as it’s finished cooking. You can keep it and reheat it but the texture does suffer a little and you will need to add a little liquid.
- What about pumpkin? Yes, pumpkin will work as will butternut squash.
- Make it plain: if you want a plain risotto, just omit the sweet potato. Simple as that.
Delicious served as a main but just as great as a side dish to grilled chicken or steak, this sweet potato risotto is rich in both flavour and comfort. It takes some love but is so worth it.
More comforting recipes
- Stovetop Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
- One Pan Chicken Pesto Pasta Bake
- Irish Beef Stew
- Cheesy Southern Grits
- Southern Macaroni and Cheese
- Ham and Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese
Sweet Potato Risotto
- 1 large (about 1lb) Jewel sweet potato
- 4 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 4 slices prosciutto
- 6 cups low salt stock / broth (chicken or vegetable)
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 cup finely chopped celery (about 3 medium stalks)
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 3 oz (3/4 cup packed) finely shredded Parmesan cheese
- 2-3 cups boiling water
- Preheat oven to 425F.
- Cut the potato in half lengthwise, then each in half again (so you have 4 long pieces). Add 1 teaspoon oil and rub all over then place cut side up, on a baking tray. Bake for 30-40 minutes until soft.
- Lay the prosciutto over the top of the potatoes then back into the oven for 12-15 minutes until it's starting to crisp.
- Set the prosciutto aside to cool (it will crisp more as it cools).
- Remove the skin from the potatoes and give them a light mash with a fork. Set aside.
- Heat the stock in a medium saucepan over high heat until it starts to simmer. Turn the heat down so that it’s just kept hot but not bubbling.
- Heat 1 tablespoon each of oil and half the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add the onion, celery and garlic and sauté, stirring regularly until soft and translucent - about 10 minutes. Keep stirring so it doesn’t colour.
- Add the rice, salt and thyme and stir until the rice starts to look translucent. Now stir in the mashed sweet potato until it’s all evenly dispersed.
- Add one ladleful of the hot stock and stir the rice slowly until it’s absorbed.
- Continue adding the stock, just one ladleful at a time and stirring constantly, making sure it’s absorbed before adding the next. It’s important not to rush this step.
- Once all the stock is added, test the rice to see how far from done it is. You can begin adding the water in the same way you added the stock but check for doneness regularly as you may not need it all.
- Once the rice is tender but firm and looks silky, take it off the heat and stir in the butter and parmesan.
- Top with crumbled prosciutto and more fresh thyme leaves and serve immediately.