Sweet Coconut Risotto, with Meyer Lemon Marmalade and Light Rum

There is something unexpectedly primal about making a risotto.

Very few dishes exhibit the transformative potential in a risotto, where you have such elemental ingredients such as rice, water (or stock), wine, vegetables and flavorings that eventually results, from a combination of time and patience, in something that is greater than the sum of its parts. When your ingredients are, in this case, butter, sugar, coconut milk and rum, the results are equally unexpected and delicious.

Think of this dish as a kind of rice pudding — but for adults. It’s elegantly simple and sophisticated, all at the same time.

Sweet coconut risotto, with Meyer lemon marmalade and light rum
Sweet coconut risotto, with Meyer lemon marmalade and light rum

‎3/4 cup Japanese rice or arborio rice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup hot water
1 tablespoon light rum
1 cup milk
2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
2 tablespoons Meyer lemon marmalade, or other jam or fruit confiture (optional)
2 tablespoons heavy cream (optional)

Combine milk and coconut milk in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and keep on a gentle simmer.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over low to medium heat. Add rice and stir until grains are well-coated. Add sugar, rum and hot water. Mix well. Keep stirring until rice has nearly absorbed all of the liquid. Gradually add the coconut milk mixture, ladleful by ladleful, stirring all the while or until the rice grains absorb most of the liquid and become al dente. This process will take about 30 to 40 minutes, and you need to be patient. The correct consistency will approach a thick gluey paste at the end, but the rice grains should still be distinct. Remove from heat, then serve at once.

You can serve as is, or stir in some marmalade, jam or fruit confiture of your choice. A touch of heavy cream would be perfect as well, as the picture above shows.

Time: About 50 minutes, including prep.

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