Get creative with risotto by using Jerusalem artichoke

Many great chefs, including Gordon Ramsay, have made this dish before

Jerusalem artichoke  works great in risotto. Photograph: iStock

Jerusalem artichoke works great in risotto. Photograph: iStock

 

We are, most us, comfortable making risotto with various meats and vegetables, such as chicken or mushrooms. But what about starchy vegetables? Could you make a potato risotto? Is that an obscene idea that only an Irish person would suggest? Perhaps not. And yet while a potato risotto might seem a step too far, a Jerusalem artichoke risotto is not.

November is Food Month in The Irish Times. irishtimes.com/foodmonth
November is Food Month in The Irish Times. irishtimes.com/foodmonth

Jerusalem artichokes are starchy tubers, similar to a small knobbly parsnip. Unlike parsnips, Jerusalem artichokes are great raw; though both make nice ice-cream. 

Many great chefs, including Gordon Ramsay, have made a Jerusalem artichoke risotto. Saying that, Ramsay does add scallops to the dish and purées the artichokes until velvety smooth and then folds them into the risotto.

Others go for a textural contrast, and add Jerusalem artichoke crisps on top of a creamy Parmesan risotto.We all imagine risotto to be of a uniform consistency, however, I have had it when it has been more of a soupy broth. So never let an Italian tell you that you’re making it the wrong way.

How to make Jerusalem artichoke risotto

Fry 200g of roughly cubed (no need to peel, just clean) Jerusalem artichokes in a pan with 25g of butter and a little oil. Season with a little sea salt and fresh thyme. After a few minutes, add 400g of Arborio rice and stir until the rice is all coated. Deglaze with some white wine or cider and then add a ladleful of chicken stock at a time, until the rice is tender. Fold in 100g of cubed butter and grate 100g of cheese over it before serving. You could try an Irish sheep’s cheese such as Velvet Cloud’s Rockfield. It’s a semi-hard sheep’s cheese with a natural creamy golden rind that is aged for a minimum of 12 weeks. 

If you want to make this dish vegetarian, use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. For vegans, change butter to cold pressed rapeseed oil and add herbs instead of cheese. Try a mix of at least three: chervil, chive and fennel.

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