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Sunchoke and Saffron Risotto – swell

Sunchoke and Saffron Risotto

Sunchoke & Saffron Risotto
Sunchoke & Saffron Risotto with Acorn Squash
Sunchoke & Saffron Risotto top
Sunchoke & Saffron Risotto side
Sunchoke & Saffron Risotto closeup

I totally have a recipe coming up for some amazake-sweetened teff muffins, but I thought it might be nice to go savory first.  Ever since Jes posted her recipe for Sorghum Risotto, I’ve had risotto on the brain.  Then I had an overpriced plate of sunchoke risotto at a local cafe that I knew I could make better (and for less money than I paid for one measly serving).  I used to make risotto a lot, and for company I especially wanted to impress, I served it with some roasted and marinated portobellas.  But risotto and I have parted ways over the years, not for any good reason other than I’ve been exploring other dishes and often straying from Italian-style foods.  I’m glad we’ve been reunited.

I first made this for my girlfriend’s return-from-tour meal (with the requisite roasted portobellas!), and ate it for days afterward, and with a bag of sunchokes in the crisper, tonight I decided it was time to make it again.  You see, this was my anti-soup meal choice following almost two days of soups, smoothies, water, and ice cream.  Yes, my friends, at the ripe at of 28, this lady got all four of her (impacted) wisdom teeth out.  At first I relished in the idea of several days of sweet and savory green smoothies and coconut-lime hempmilk ice cream, but I got sick of it real quick.  When the oral surgery office called today to check in on me they assured me it was totally alright to start introducing “eggs and mushy pasta.”  Yuck!  Creamy soft rice sounded much better to me.

As Jes mentions in her post, risotto, though typically made with white arborio rice, can be made with just about any type of rice or grain (and I tested a particularly tasty “quinotto” for Terry last year).  It’s really more the extra liquid and cooking style (and sometimes ingredients) that make risotto creamy and yummy.  In other words, lots and lots of stirring.  Stirring until you just want to f- it and be done with it already, except you know the reward will be the greater if you maintain your patience, maybe have a glass of wine while you’re at it, and listen to some stirring-appropriate music, and stir some more.  This is the time for you to really commune with your food, and maybe roast some squash or mushrooms or tempeh while you’re at it.

After tasting this combination, I’m convinced that sunchokes and saffron were made for each other.  They’re earthy and unique and just pair brilliantly with one another.  Although I simplified the version pictured here due to pantry constraints, this also tastes amazing with roasted red peppers and fresh basil, but will still delight your little toes as is.  For my tender mouth I went ahead and served it on a succulently roasted acorn squash ring with a drizzle of balsamic reduction, but it would also be great with a green salad (think arugula!) and a crusty piece of bread if you’d rather roll that way.  And roasted mushrooms.  You can tell I’m experiencing an unfulfilled craving, can’t you?

Sunchoke and Saffron Brown Rice Risotto

serves 6-8

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup diced onion

3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/2 pound sunchokes (aka Jerusalem artichokes), scrubbed, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced

1 1/2 cups brown rice (I used short grain)

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 generous pinch saffron threads

3/4 cup white wine or sherry

4-6 cups light vegetable stock or water

salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

chopped fresh herbs such as parsley or basil

ground paprika (regular or smoked) to serve (optional)

You need two pots for this; one larger to cook your risotto in, and another smaller to keep your vegetable stock (or water) warm in.

Begin by gently heating the stock (keep it warm without letting it evaporate too much).  Then heat the olive oil in the other pot over medium-low heat and add your onions and garlic.  Cook until the onions begin to soften, and add your sliced sunchokes.  Continue cooking and stirring until onions are translucent.  Then add your rice, thyme and saffron (give them a good crush between your fingers into the pot), and stir to coat.  Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring to keep the rice from sticking too much.

Deglaze your pot with white wine, stirring to loosen up anything at the bottom, and cook until wine has nearly evaporated.  Add your warm stock about 3/4 cup at a time (a large soup ladle works well) or enough to just cover the rice mixture.  Cook, stirring to release the starches in the rice, until each batch of added stock or water has nearly evaporated, then add another ladleful.  Contine cooking, stirring, and adding stock until the rice has softened and a creamy liquid has formed; this may take an hour or more.  (You may or may not need all the liquid called for).  Add salt and pepper to taste, and stir in fresh herbs just before serving, topping each serving with additional herbs and a sprinkling of paprika if desired.

Now to put ice packs on my cheeks and watch something, hopefully, funny!  Till next time.

29 Responses to “Sunchoke and Saffron Risotto”

  1. Mandee says:

    Firstly, gorgeous plating and photos, as usual!

    Secondly, I had to google sunchokes! I have never cooked artichokes but I have eaten them before. I’m going to make this risotto so I can finally say I’ve cooked them!

    I hope your mouth is feeling better, my only mouth issues has been TMJ but I bet teeth removal is 100x worse!

  2. a-k says:

    Make sure you’re getting Jerusalem artichokes and not regular artichokes… big difference! Maybe iI should post a picture of sunchokes for the uninitiated :)

    Thanks for all your kind words, Mandee!

  3. Jerusalem artichokes are my favorite vegetable. I can’t believe how many people have never eaten them! They’re especially wonderful with some lemon, which is why I’d be tempted to add some lemon to this risotto, as well. :->

  4. bethany says:

    I love stirring-appropriate kitchen music! Makes cooking even more divine.

  5. Joanne says:

    A good risotto is always on my mind. This looks fabulous. Gorgeous photos!

  6. cmb0096 says:

    That photo is gorgeous–it looks so pretty on that roasted squash! Well done :-)

    I hope you are healing up okay! Can I do anything? Do you need anything? Let me know…??


  7. mihl says:

    Ouch, wisdom tooth extraction sucks! I am glad to hear everything is healing as it should.

    Thank you so much for this recipe! After I made the Jerusalem artichoke pizza I wanted to try out more recipes with that awesome vegetable. This sounds so delicious.

  8. sophia says:

    that looks splendid, i love the pretty flowery squash slice. i’ve often meant to buy sunchokes and never have, but risotto is a good enticement.

  9. Mary says:

    Gorgeous presentation! Do you work in a restaurant? Sorry about your teeth. This dish looks really good!

    • a-k says:

      I don’t work in a restaurant, but I do work at a co-op…sometimes I just have too much fun with pretty vegetables and a squirt bottle :P

  10. taleoftwovegans says:

    I’m not a risotto fan but this looks so tasty! Also, I can’t wait for these muffins! I have never tried amazake, but that recipe sounds so intriguing! :)


  11. Naomi Rose says:

    I save your posts up in my google reader so I can read them properly and not whizz through. This looks pretty effing delicious!

  12. jessy says:

    oh man, that’s no fun that you had to have all four wisdom teeth removed. supersadandpainfulface! my dentist said i get to keep mine, but i think that’s only because i’ve had 11 teeth removed previously. i hope i’d be entitled to keep my silly wisdom teeth after having all of those other teeth yanked out. i hope your feeling 100% now! i managed to find sunchokes at the farmer’s market late last spring (or maybe it was late last summer), but i need to keep an eye out for them again when the market starts back up in april. hell, i think sunchokes may grow in this area, so perhaps i’ll take our dog julie out with me and stomp around in the woods when it warms up and see if i can find some. it could be a super fun adventure! your sunchoke and saffron risotto looks gorgeous & sound well worth the effort & absolutely yummers in every aspect. i too want to give in to the “fuck its” when making risotto, but keeping in mind that the end result will be most glorious if i hold on keeps me there and stirring. w00t!

  13. i’m on delicious looking food overload, your blog is beautiful and all of these recipes look amazing! i can’t wait to try some!!! i love vegans!


    be a follower, not a fighter

  14. Claryn says:

    I love your presentation of this! It’s so pretty stacked on the bright orange squash.

  15. Jes says:

    Oh my, I almost picked up some sunchokes at the farmers market this weekend. Now I’m wishing I did, since I have saffron on hand. The risotto looks exquisite and I’m definitely going to have to give it a go next time I see some sunchokes on sale!

  16. cookingforaveganlover says:

    Wow what a great recipe! Sounds delicious

  17. Love this recipe and the new layout! :)

  18. Mimosa says:

    This recipe looks delicious. Could you post a picture of sunchokes so we know what they look like? I’ve been looking for them everywhere but haven’t had any luck

  19. Mimosa says:

    thanks. now if i can only find them.

  20. Sarah says:

    I came by hoping to find the vanilla coconut pudding that you tweeted about, no luck! That’s okay though, this risotto makes for a lovely peace offering.

  21. Metta says:

    I have made this (or at least a modified version) twice. It is so good. I love sunchokes and never thought of using them this way. The flavor is so fresh and the creaminess is so comforting. I absolutely love this risotto!

    • A-K says:

      Wonderful! I like the uniqueness of the sunchoke flavor because it’s so bright against the creaminess…and I’m always glad to hear about someone actually making something I post!

  22. [...] lot of veggie-eating people.  In the past I’ve primarily roasted sunchokes, or used them in risotto, but when prompted to make use of a lot a butternut squash and some remaining sunchokes in the [...]

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