Artichoke Yam Risotto

Whoever thought up risotto was a genius. Sticky gloppy rice with so much depth of flavor I can’t eat it fast if I try, and it keeps me warm in these awful snowstorms that seem determined to find me. Well the joke’s on you, unpredictable Texas weather! Mr. Blackbird already stocked up on groceries for the week, so I’m just going to hide in the warmth of my apartment and make endless cups of hot chocolate! Ha! Well, that and go to work.

Anyway. Risotto!

Ingredients (serves 3, or two plus lunch for one the next day)

2 T butter

about 1/3 of a yam

(1/2 of an onion, diced. Not in this house, though. Yuck, onions!)

some artichoke hearts. I used about 15 (frozen) because I am an artichoke fiend.

3/4 cup arborio rice short or medium grain rice*

3/4 cup white wine. Whatever you’re drinking with dinner is fine.

2 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup grated parmesan or other hard cheese (I used parrono)


Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, slice the yam super thin and then chop the slices so they’re bite size. Now that I think about it, it would have been easier and probably yummier to just grate them on a box grater. Sauté the yam and artichoke in the butter until just beginning to brown. Onions too, if you allow the little beasts into your home.

Now add your rice and sauté until translucent. Use a wooden spoon for risotto, by the way. It seems easier to keep the gloppy stuff from permanently fusing to wood than metal or plastic, I guess because it’s porous.

Turn the heat down to medium and pour the wine in. You’ll want a good book or a good conversation in the kitchen with you for the rest of this, ’cause from here on out you just get to stir for 20 minutes straight.

Stir the risotto until the wine is almost completely absorbed or evaporated. Then add 1/2 cup of broth and stir that until it’s almost gone. Continue doing this until you’ve used all 2 cups of broth. Now taste a bite. Is it soft on the outside with just a touch of crunch in the middle? Does it look fluffy and cooked, like this?

If so, turn off the heat. If not, add another 1/2 cup of broth and stir again. Not all rice is created equal. Once it’s done, stir in your 1/2 cup of grated cheese. It will instantly change the texture and smell of the dish for the better.

I served mine with duck breast and some kale (I forgot to cook the kale–oops!) and the rest of the wine we used in cooking. And that, my friends, is how you keep the winter at bay.

*Okay, so Arborio rice costs $15 for two pounds. Holy crap! My koshihikari (Japanese short grain sticky rice, great for sushi) cost $8 for four and a half pounds, and that already cost four times more by weight than the long grain jasmine rice I get in 50 pound bags. So I decided sticky rice is sticky rice and used the Japanese stuff. And it’s great. I doubt even an Italian grandma would call foul on this.


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