I have to give the pre-requisite excuse for why I haven't said hello in three months, don't I? I'll break it down pretty quickly:
- I started a new job in mid-October at an e-learning company for kids K - 12. I now have a real, honest to goodness commute of 25 miles. I also now do mornings to avoid rush hour commuting. This means I don't spend much time awake when I get home from work.
- I've been really busy thinking about money around the clock. Really. I'm paying off debts and loans like a champ. As a result, I spend at least half my life watching my credit score creep up and the other half tapping my foot impatiently because credit-related changes take forever. I'm strongly considering sharing my road to debt-freeness via blog.
- For a little while, I was spending a bunch of time with my little nephew baby sitting. He is huge and just turned 3. It seems like just yesterday I was waiting for him to make his debut into the world.
None of this means that I haven't been cooking. I just haven't been writing. This is bad behavior. I am not a good blogger.
Why do I get so excited about sunchokes? Years ago, at some restaurant I don't remember, in a dish I don't recall, my mother and I pondered this odd vegetable in the meal. It was delicious and nutty and faintly chestnutty while also somewhat potato-ey. The waiter said the vegetable in question was the sunchoke. It looks something like a funky shaped ginger root and is part of the sunflower family. In the puree, you get the scent of artichoke.
|The humble sunchoke, in season now (November!) at the farmer's market.|
Recipe is a combination of Giada's Champagne Risotto and Gordon Ramsay's Jerusalem Artichoke Risotto
Yield: dinner for 2 with second some second helpings, or smaller portions for 4
|Just a little bowl of Risotto for dinner. I'm lying to you. A second bowl of Risotto for dinner.|
|Don't worry about a perfect peeling - just peel the gnarly knots and roughest skin.|
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup champagne, prosecco or dry white wine
- 3.5 cups broth (vegetable or chicken)
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese plus additional for serving
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 3 rather large sunchokes amounting to about 1 and 1/4 cup, roughly peeled and thinly sliced
You'll need 1 pot and 2 pans for this: the pot will hold your broth. The smaller pan will hold your sunchokes, and the larger, higher rimmed pan will hold your risotto.
- Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a pan or skillet over medium heat. Add sunchokes and cream and cook until sunchokes are tender when poked with a fork, about 10 minutes. Occasionally stir to ensure the vegetables don't stick to the pan. Set aside to cool. Blend into a smooth puree using a food processor. Reserve until risotto is done.
- Meanwhile, bring vegetable broth to a simmer and maintain over low heat.
- Melt remaining tablespoon of butter over medium heat in a large, heavy bottomed pan. Cook onions for about 3 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add rice, stirring occasionally, and cook until a bright white spot appears in the grains, 2 to 3 minutes. Add half the champagne and stir the rice until the liquid is absorbed, then repeat with the other half of the champagne.
- Reduce heat to medium low and add half a cup of broth to the rice, stirring consistently until all liquid is absorbed. Repeat with all broth, half a cup at a time.
- When all broth is used, add salt, pepper and sunchoke puree. Combine, then add cheese.
- Serve piping hot, with additional cheese on top (because you can never have too much cheese).
|The spoonful is the sunchoke puree.|