I have a confession to make: I am a bit obsessed with risotto. I love everything about it – the process of making it, all the ingredients that go into it and not least of all, eating it. I love it because it’s versatile and is a dish you can eat year-round, customizing to ingredients and flavors that are in season. It can be made to appeal to any diet preference as well – it works wonderfully with light seafood such as scallops or shrimp and is a great vehicle to highlight seasonal vegetables.
Forever on the hunt for the next awesome flavor profile, I decided that caramelized onions and apples sounded like a good idea to try. I know what you’re thinking – there’s already plenty of onion in the base of risotto, won’t this be overkill? I was worried about that too, but I did it anyway and was glad I took the risk. Caramelizing the onions gives them a different flavor, so this wasn’t overkill with onion. You’re also only going to use a half cup of the onions, so you’ll have some leftover. (Looking for what to do with them? Try this crostini recipe.)
To make this dish, I recommend making the onions ahead of time – even the day before if you’d like. They take 45 minutes just by themselves, and risotto is not a small time investment. However, if you’re so bold, go ahead and make them at the same time – I’d start with the onions and once they’re 15 minutes in, then start the risotto.
- 2 cups arborio rice
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 large shallots, diced
- 6 cups broth of choice (I used vegetable)
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- Salt and pepper
- Pinch nutmeg
- 1 medium sized granny smith apple, diced (keep the peel on)
- 1/2 cup caramelized onions, procedure follows
- 1 medium sized sweet onion (I used Vidalia)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 5 tbsp butter
- Warm the broth in a sauce pan under low flame
- Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in large saute pan
- Add the shallots and let cook 2-3 minutes until soft
- Add the risotto and stir to coat the rice
- Deglaze the pan with the wine
- When the wine is fully absorbed, add ½ – ¾ cup of broth to the rice, letting it fully absorb before adding more. For best flavor, add a pinch or two of salt after each addition of broth.
- Continue to stir the risotto while adding ½ cup of the broth at a time, adding more only when each portion is absorbed
- When the rice is almost finished cooking, add the onions and diced apple, stir and let cook 2-3 minutes
- Turn off the heat, add the parmesan cheese and stir to combine
Caramelized onion instructions
Heat the butter and olive oil in a 12” skillet over medium heat until the butter is just melted. Add the onions and stir to coat with the oil and butter. Keep the onions on the heat for 40-45 minutes, stirring occasionally until well caramelized.
Once the onions are well caramelized, deglaze the pan with the wine to reincorporate the fond that has formed on the bottom of the pan. Let cook an additional 3-5 minutes.