Apple risotto is a sweet twist of the traditionally savoury Italian recipe. This dish was made popular in recent years by the Japanese anime Food Wars!: Shokugeki No Soma and the game Bloodstained.
In Food Wars!: Shokugeki No Soma, the main character Soma makes an apple risotto in a cooking duel against his father. The breakfast meal was made to rejuvenate the eater. Even though Soma ends up losing against his father, the unique dish has stayed in the minds of Anime lovers, with many attempting to recreate it.
If the combination of apple and risotto has got you wondering about its taste, read on to learn how you can recreate it.
What is apple risotto?
The dish is a sweet version of traditional risotto, using the main ingredients of apple and Arborio rice. The dish is a popular comfort food in Northern Italy, especially during the autumn season due to the seasonality of apples.
It pairs a unique blend of ingredients to produce a sweet and tart yet savoury dish. Also, the soft and chewy texture of the risotto paired with the softened apple cubes add a nice touch to this delicious meal.
Apple risotto is a speciality in Trentino South Tyrol, a region in Northern Italy. The valleys are known for supporting an extensive variety of crops which are accentuated in Trentino’s traditional cuisine.
Val di Non apples, a key ingredient in apple risotto, are grown in a limited area, with specific climatic and soil conditions. These factors help contribute to its high quality in taste, crunchiness and colour.
The key ingredients used in making the best apple risotto recipe includes high quality and crunchy apples, Arborio rice and Italian cheese.
Val di Non apples like Granny Smith, Royal Gala and Fuji apples would be preferred because of their sweet taste and crunchy texture.
For this recipe, Arborio rice is preferred as the grains are wider and longer, making for a slightly softer and thicker risotto. Therefore, this texture adds to a nice blend with the cooked apple cubes.
If you’re unable to get your hands on Arborio rice, you can opt for carnaroli, which will give you a starchier and creamier texture.
Lastly, Italian cheese is molto importante when creating the perfect apple risotto. You could use grated parmesan, melting it in with the risotto to add to the creaminess and salty, nutty flavour.
If you don’t have any parmesan, you could replace it with sharp cheddar. Although it is not Italian, cheddar will give the dish a salty, nutty flavour similar to parmesan. Also, cheddar will melt well, making it easy to work with.
How to make apple risotto without wine?
White wine is one of the common ingredients used in this recipe to add to its flavour and acidity. However, if you prefer to leave it out you can substitute it with verjus, which is pressed juice of unripen grapes.
Verjus is not fermented, hence it is non-alcoholic, yet it has a similar tart and acidic taste to wine, making it an appropriate substitute. Make sure to keep tasting as you add verjus to make sure that the acidity is not overbearing.
The bacon adds a salty flavour to the sweet and tangy apple risotto. It also adds a nice crispy texture that blends well with the soft and chewy texture of arborio rice.
However, if you prefer to go without the bacon you could exclude it from the recipe altogether or replace it with mushroom bacon. Pink oyster mushrooms in particular can provide that similar umami flavour that bacon has while being a healthier option.
To make it as similar to bacon as possible, thinly slice these mushrooms. Then, season with salt and pepper and cook in the oven for 20 minutes or until crisp. Once you’re done, toss the mushrooms in a mixture of maple syrup, sugar, paprika and garlic powder.
Not all recipes call for cinnamon because the spice has a strong flavour that usually only goes well when there’s no savoury element to the dish.
If you’d like to add cinnamon to your apple risotto, you could take cues from the classic oatmeal breakfast recipe. Our personal favourite is adding butter, apple juice, dried cranberries and walnuts along with a dash of cinnamon.
Apple risotto can be considered an easy dish to make but there are a couple of ways that things could go wrong. Here are some tips to make sure you’re in the clear:
- Make sure to add the cheese at the end of the cooking process. However, adding it in too early can cause the protein to coagulate quickly, making it lumpy.
- Do not add in the stock all at once as this would just give you boiled rice. The trick is to gradually add the stock and allow the rice to absorb the liquid, creating a creamy starch.
- Don’t overdo or underdo the stirring. Too much stirring can cool down the risotto too quickly, creating a gluey texture. However, too little stirring can make the rice stick to your pan and burn. Make sure to strike a nice balance between the two.
Apple risotto is best served as a starter or side dish and goes well with a side of salad and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
In addition, if you’re feeling up to it, a glass of white wine would accompany this dish well.
Best Apple Risotto Recipe | Food Wars
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 4 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ½ cup diced onions
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 2 cups Granny Smith apples, peeled and cubed
- ⅓ cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoon freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 8 strips bacon
- Boil the chicken broth and then adjust to heat to bring it to a simmer. Set aside.
- Add 2 tbsp. of butter and ½ cup of onions over low heat for 3 minutes. Then add in the rice and 1 cup of apples and sauté for 3 minutes. Mix in the wine and bring to a boil.
- Add the hot broth in, just covering the rice, and keep stirring until it’s absorbed. Keep adding more broth in ½ cup increments and stir until fully absorbed.
- Towards the end, add in the remaining cup of apples and cook until creamy. Take off the heat and stir in the parmesan cheese and last 2 tbsps. of butter. Serve the risotto on a plate and top it off with cooked bacon strips.
Calories have been calculated using an online calculator. Nutritional information offered on Honest Food Talks is for general information purposes and are only rough estimations.
Aylime’s Kitchen Youtube Channel has an awesome video of how she prepared her version of the apple risotto recipe! Her version does not use any chicken broth but instead uses apple juice. Hence, we also recommend checking out how she prepares the full dish!
We hope that this recipe has inspired the Soma in you. If you’ve given it a go, be sure to tag us on Instagram @honestfoodtalks!