December 02, 2014

sweet potato risotto with rosemary and spicy maple walnuts

This risotto is the epitome of autumn comfort food.  My favorite part?  The spicy maple walnuts so don't take a shortcut and just toss some raw ones on top.  They are perfect! 

Servings 4-6
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes

  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (FYI: since I was making this for my family, which includes 2 adults and 3 kids, I halved the nuts and the next 4 ingredients knowing the kids wouldn't care for them)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons real maple syrup
  • 4 cups peeled, diced sweet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 4-6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup real maple syrup
  • course salt, to taste


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large skillet, over medium heat, place the walnuts.  Add the salt, cayenne, cinnamon and pepper and cook 1 minute or so until spices become fragrant and nuts begin to toast.  Add the maple syrup and swirl the walnuts in the pan until they are well coated with the spices and syrup. Pour walnuts onto a cookie sheet (or piece of parchment paper) and set aside to cool.

Spread the diced sweet potatoes in one layer in a glass baking pan and drizzle with one tablespoon of olive oil. Toss to coat and roast for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour the vegetable broth into a saucepan and place over medium-low heat to become warm or pour into a glass measuring cup and microwave until warm.

 In a large skillet, heat the remaining olive oil and butter over medium heat.  Add the chopped onion and a pinch of salt and cook until onions become translucent.  Add the rice and continue to cook until rice starts to toast.

Add the warm vegetable broth to the rice one ladle at a time, stirring constantly, and waiting until all the broth is absorbed by the rice before adding more.

When the broth is gone and the rice is done (not too firm, not too mushy), 20-30 minutes, stir in the chopped rosemary and season with salt and white pepper to taste.

Fold in the roasted sweet potato pieces and spiced walnuts, then turn off heat.
Add the maple syrup and stir until well combined.

Top with walnuts and enjoy!

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