Autumn means the return of comfort foods. And in our house that means root vegetables—carrots, turnips, parsnips and others like brussel sprouts...I've been doing some experimenting with sweet potatoes. (The bonus is they're a vegetable high in Vitamins A, C and B6.) An easy way to cook them is peeling and slicing into matchsticks (think fries here), tossing with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, and roasting them at 450 for 20-30 minutes. Check them to make sure they're not sticking to the pan and turn them once, and then when you take them out of the oven, toss them in a bowl with a handful of freshly snipped herbs, especially parsley. Mmmmmm.
But that's not what this post is about. This post is about the recent exploration I've been doing in perfecting risotto, and a delightful autumn meal that included using apples from our Drawer o' Apples (thank you Hood River!). See drawer here (they should last a while in that external walled drawer: keep fingers crossed):
Trying to diversify our mainly chicken, ground turkey and vegetarian meals, I've wandered into the pork tenderloin arena. And evidently apples and pork go well together. So we tried this epicurious.com recipe, and I have to give it a thumbs up. Fairly simple, super tasty. The roasted apples and onions make the dish. But it's what we paired it with that made it The Meal, and that's risotto.
I've been experimenting with several risotto recipes, and we've tweaked and combined some to the point that it's oh sweet jesus, real good. So you know about risotto, right? Every time we make it we yell a la Chef Gordon Ramsey "You call this risotto, you donkey!" and then we have another glass of wine. (If you don't know what that's in reference to I'm not going to explain it.) Risotto requires some attention and a lot of stirring, but it's quickly becoming a seasonal favorite, and it's fun to experiment. The original inspiration recipes are here and here, but I think ours is the best.
LeLo's Favorite Autumnal Risotto
1 T olive oil
8 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 sweet potatoes (peeled and diced into 1/4-1/2 inch size pieces)
1 large onion chopped (I love those sweet onions)
2 cups arborio rice
3 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary (save 1 teaspoon to top the plates)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 bag of baby spinach (4-6 oz)
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup Gorgonzola crumbled cheese
In a large pot, bring the broth to boil, cover and reduce heat to low or simmering. Put it on the back burner.
In heavy large saute pan, heat the oil and saute the onion and sweet potato for 10 minutes, until the sweet potato is cooked. Add the rosemary, stir, then add rice. Stir and cook for 2 minutes. Add wine, simmer until evaporated. Now begin to ladle in the chicken stock, 1-2 ladles at a time. Stirring constantly, add more stock as it evaporates. This should take about 20 minutes, until you are done adding the stock and the risotto is creamy in consistency. Taste it to make sure there's not a "bite" to the rice and that it is smooth. Stir in the spinach, cream and Gorgonzola cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle Parmesan and extra rosemary as it's served.
And there you have it. The Perfect Autumn Meal.