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Author Notes: Sweetness? This dish has it - from roasted sweet potatoes and hints of maple syrup. Spiciness? Also there - a bit of cayenne in the walnuts puts some heat on the tongue that along with the cinnamon gives warmth and depth to the dish. Herbs? Can we ever make anything without them? Rosemary goes so nicely with the other flavors. And what about textures? Indeed - creamy risotto, crunchy walnuts, soft onions. It's one of the best risottos we've ever had.
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 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
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 cup carnaroli or arborio rice
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1/4 cup real maple syrup
- kosher salt, to taste
- white pepper, to taste
- To make the walnuts: Place the walnuts in a large skillet over medium heat.
- 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 and set aside to cool.
- To make the risotto: Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
- 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 1/2 hour.
- Meanwhile, pour the vegetable broth into a saucepan and place over medium-low heat to become 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. This could take up to one-half hour.
- When the broth is gone and the rice is done (not too firm, not too mushy), 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, stir so that everything is well combined, serve and enjoy!
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Maple Recipe
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