For the Love of Leftovers

by NAA

The leftovers: two baked-but-firm sweet potatoes, a head of radicchio, some onions, stock, and the sad-looking remainder of a head of garlic.

I wanted to use everything up in a healthful dish, and since it looks like this outside,

Snow on Hauptplatz

I also wanted the dish to be hearty.

My solution: brown rice risotto with sweet potatoes.  For a dish made completely from leftovers and whatever was in the cupboard, it turned out tasty enough that David requested we make it again sometime. A compliment that good warrants a recipe post, so here it is.

Brown Rice Risotto with Sweet Potatoes and Radicchio

Sweet Potato Risotto

2 cups short grain brown rice
5 cups stock*
2 cups white wine
3 small white onions, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 large yams, baked but still firm, cubed
1 medium head radicchio, shredded**
4 tsp smoked paprika***
2 TBSP olive oil
120 grams (4-5 oz) spicy pork sausage (Cevapcici)
toasted pine nuts for garnish (optional)

In a heavy stock pot (or large, deep skillet) over medium heat, cook the sausage, breaking it up into small pieces as you do. Once it is cooked through, drain off the fats and oils, then set the sausage aside in a separate dish.

Wipe the residual oil from the stock pot, then add olive oil, onions, garlic and 2 teaspoons smoked paprika. Stir over medium heat until onions begin to soften.  Add the sausage and mix until combined.

Add the rice and stir until each grain is coated with olive oil/onion/sausage/garlic mixture. Add a cup of stock, bring to a simmer, then turn the heat down to low.  Allow the mixture to simmer on low heat until the stock is absorbed. Add a cup of white wine and simmer on low heat until absorbed.  Add another cup of stock and another cup of wine, and simmer until absorbed. Add the third cup of stock, and again stir and simmer until absorbed.

The rice should be a tad chewy at this point (think al dente). Add yams, the fourth cup of stock and another 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika (more if needed); stir to combine. Simmer until stock is absorbed.

Fold in the shredded radicchio, and stir in the remainder of the stock. Continuing stirring over low heat until the moisture is absorbed and the risotto has a creamy texture.

At this point, do a taste test. Check if the rice is cooked through (you want it cooked, but not overdone and mushy; it should be chewy, but not raw in the middle of the grains). If the rice isn’t done yet,  add more stock 1 cup at a time and continue stirring until rice is cooked, all moisture is absorbed and the risotto has a nice creamy texture. If needed, add more paprika or salt to taste (whether or not you need salt will depend on how salty your stock is). Stir until well combined.

Serve warm with a garnish of toasted pine nuts.


{images by me}

* 5 cups stock probably sounds like a lot for risotto, but brown rice takes a long time to cook, which means a lot of moisture will evaporate as you make the dish. You may need more or less than this, so let the rice be your guide. You need enough to make sure it gets thoroughly cooked, but not mushy.

** David thought the dish could use more radicchio. If you try this, let me know how you like it!

*** It is key to use Smoked Paprika (not regular Paprika), and I heartily support liberal seasoning for this dish.