I love risotto, and cook it all the time. It gets a bad rap as being labor intensive but if you keep your eye on it, it allows you time to prep and cook your sides between stirring. It is another one of those basic dishes that welcomes all types of additions. Last night I added sun-dried tomatoes and threw in some peas and leeks, and it was delicious.
One of the keys to great risotto is using very good stock. I learned this tip from my sister-in-law, who learned it from a master chef in a cooking class. It makes total sense. I used to just open a box of stock, heat it and use it as is, and wonder why my risotto was so uninspiring. Then I began to treat the stock like it was a broth I was going to drink on its own, and things immediately got a whole lot better. I make my own stock now, adding things like soy and worcestershire sauce, onion peels and leek tops, herbal sachets, wine, cider, and always lots of pepper. Once the stock is good enough to drink, I'm ready for risotto.
The sides were simple, brussel sprouts and smashed garlic cloves, tossed in olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper, roasted in the oven for 15 minutes, tossed once while cooking. Treat the thinly sliced sweet potato the same way. Simple but really good, especially the sprouts. They are quickly becoming my favorite vegetable.
Risotto cooking methods can be found in any cookbook, I do nothing special there. I add my extra ingredients at the end, when I am adding my last ladle or two of stock to the rice. Throw in a nice chunk of butter and some parmesan when the cooking is finished, agitate it as much as you can by shaking and stirring, and then top with a bit more parm on the plate. One of my favorite winter meals for sure.