Last week my fireman and I went to dinner with one of our favorite couple friends. It was way overdue for us to catch up, so we decided to meet at one of my favorite restaurants to do just that. As we were perusing the menu for the perfect meal selection the Sweet Potato and Chicken Risotto caught the eye(s) of the majority of the table. After it was decided that my sweet friend and my fireman were both going to order that entree- I decided against it. I have a weird thing (weird..me?? Nah!) about ordering the same thing on the menu as someone else- guilty is the wrong word for it, but I feel like maybe I’m missing out on something if the whole table is ordering the same dish- I can easily sneak a sample from the fireman- He is really good at sharing his food. A pro actually. So, why not pick something else out on the menu? I was perfectly satisfied with my Shrimp Verduta, but after getting the before-mentioned sample from the bowl to my left I was determined to go home and remake that stuff. It was yummy. Plus- seeing that I’m so darn ready for Fall.. this dish screams it. Sweet potatoes are at their peak (and on sale!) these days, nothing is more fall-inspiring than a root vegetable- as featured in these enchiladas and also in this yummy soup..and not to forget just plain and simple in this recipe here. Any variety of squash is in at a close second to the sweet potato for fall-inspiring vegetables, so feel free to substitute it for the taters in this recipe, too.
The directions seem never ending- but while the potatoes and asparagus are roasting, you can make the risotto, pulling the vegetables out just in time to stir them in. Time-consuming? Not so much
3 1/2 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled sweet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
1 lb thick asparagus spears, trimmed (about 2 cups)
1 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken breast
Preheat oven to 450°. Combine sweet potatoes, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; toss well to coat. Arrange potato mixture in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 450° for 25 minutes, stirring once. Remove from pan and reserve. Place trimmed asparagus on the same baking sheet- spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with garlic powder. Bake at 450° for 8-10 minutes, until soft. Remove from oven and rough chop; reserve.
Combine broth, water, and thyme in a saucepan; bring to a simmer. Keep warm over low heat; do not boil.
While the potatoes are roasting, coat large Dutch oven over medium-high heat with cooking spray. Add pancetta and cook until crisp. Remove from pan; drain on a paper towel; discard pan drippings. Add onion and 1 teaspoon oil to the pan. Saute 10 minutes or until onion is tender. Add rice and garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add wine; bring to a boil. Cook 3 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed. Stir in 1/2 cup broth mixture; cook 2 minutes or until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add remaining broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently until each portion of liquid is absorbed before adding the next (about 20 minutes total). Stir in the cheese and butter; heat until both are melted. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, chicken, and reserved pancetta, cubed sweet potato, and asparagus; cook 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with toasted pine nuts, if desired.