While I was visiting No. 1 in Berkeley, we decided we didn't want to eat out every night and would enjoy a few evenings relaxing at home. We bought yarn (or in No. 1's case, fiber) at different yarn shops, and we wanted to be able to kick off our shoes, watch a movie and knit, and having dinner at home provided that opportunity. Cooking is one of the things I do—I like it, and I like planning, shopping and executing, and I especially like having an appreciative eater to enjoy the results. So, having dinner at home did not inflict damage on my second spring break.
No. 1 is a vegetarian, so I had to choose recipes we would both like with that limitation. I suppose plenty of people would not consider a vegetarian diet a limitation, but if you're used to cooking with beef filets or salmon or chicken, having to exclude those things really is limiting, at first. One evening, I poked around the produce drawer of the fridge and found a sweet potato, and that gave me an idea. I did some more poking around at Epicurious.com and found a surprisingly wonderful sweet potato risotto recipe. It was attached to a recipe for cornish game hens, but I ignored that part and turned the side dish into the main dish.
As I was cooking this stuff, I yelled from the kitchen to warn No. 1 that this was not going to be an attractive meal. It's sort of like a big pot of goop, so I suggested we serve it in bowls so it would be goop in a containing bowl instead of goop all spread out on a plate. Not to exaggerate the appearance of the risotto, but seriously, not pretty. It's seriously great, though, and we loved every bite.
Here is the recipe. Give it a try. Serve it in pretty bowls with a glass of Riesling. And notice that you don't miss meat one bit.
Sweet Potato Risotto
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
2/3 cup arborio rice
1/4 cup dry Riesling wine
2/3 cup mascarpone cheese*
1/4 cup walnuts, toasted, chopped (I left this out only because the other eater doesn't like nuts)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sweet potatoes, onion and ginger; sauté until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Cook rice in small saucepan of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes. Drain rice. Add rice to potato mixture in skillet. Add Riesling and stir over low heat to blend. Add mascarpone and stir to melt. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with parsley.