Winter is the season of comfort food. And there are so many seasonal fruits and vegetables that go into the making of some great comforting recipes. But sometimes the comforting ingredient that’s needed is . . . . . CHOCOLATE!
This dessert risotto is truly comforting. It’s simple to make with just a few key ingredients. Chewy Arborio rice absorbs some warm vanilla scented milk. Stir in some dark chocolate and top this risotto with walnuts warmly spiced with cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, cumin and pepper.
Sometimes I just crave this on a chilly evening. A warm, luscious, chocolatey bowl of comfort.
This is a pretty rich dessert. A little goes a long way. And it’s perfect after a light meal.
The real labor of love is grating the chocolate. You want it as fine as you can get it so it melts easily into the rice.
The walnuts make this creamy dessert pretty special, too. They are not candied walnuts. While I wanted a crunchy element to top this risotto, I didn’t want to add more sweetness to an already sweet dessert. So I decided to create a little winter warmth and heat. Mix up a concoction of brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, cardamom and pepper. Wet the walnuts and let them drain. Coat them in these warming spices and toast them for 10-15 minutes.
This risotto is made in a similar way to savory risottos. The only difference is that your “broth” is warm milk, scented with vanilla extract. Slowly add the milk to the rice, making sure it is almost absorbed before adding more. The rice will slowly absorb the milk and puff up.
But the best part comes when it’s time to add the chocolate.
And then you stir.
And stir till all the chocolate is combined and creamy.
Nothing left to do but top it with your spicy winter walnuts and enjoy!
You know, I’ve made this so many times. It’s so easy and so versatile. I’ve made it with skim milk, whole milk, half and half, and a combination of those. I’ve added fruity liqueurs as well as Bailey’s, Frangelico and Kahlua. I’ve topped it with raspberries and strawberries. I’ve topped it with pecans and hazelnuts. And I’ve used milk chocolate and white chocolate. The possibilities are as endless as your imagination!
- 1 cup of uncooked Arborio rice
- 5 cups of milk, warmed
- 2 Tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 2 Tablespoons of sugar
- 1 Tablespoon of pure vanilla extract
- 1½ cups of finely grated semi sweet chocolate
- 2 cups of chopped walnuts
- 1 teaspoon of brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon of ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon of cumin
- ⅛ teaspoon of cardamom
- ⅛ teaspoon of pepper
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- Wet the walnuts and let them drain.
- Mix together the brown sugar and spices.
- Toss the walnuts in the spice mixture until they are coated.
- Lay them in a single layer on a parchment line baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes and let cool.
- Melt the butter in a large saute pan on medium heat.
- Add the rice and stir for a minute or so, until the rice is translucent.
- Pour 1 cup of the warm milk into the pan and stir until the milk reduces and is absorbed by the rice.
- Add the 2 TBSP of sugar and stir continuously.
- As the milk evaporates, add more milk, ½ cup at a time.
- Continue stirring on medium heat.
- Continue to repeat adding milk ½ cup at a time until you have used all the milk and the rice just passes the al dente stage.
- Add the chocolate to the rice, and stir until all the chocolate has melted.
- Continue to stir until the milk continues to reduce to a creamy texture.
- Garnish with the walnuts.
- Serve immediately.