Sweet Spiced Risotto with Cherry Compote

Recipe from What's For Lunch, Honey? 

Ingredients 

For the risotto

200 - 250 g Arborio rice
600ml coconut milk - unsweetened
30-50g sugar - depending on the sweetness you like
1 vanilla bean - seeds scraped and reserved
1/2 cinnamon stick
2 whole star anise
50g butter

For the cherry compote

1 kg sour cherries - I used some of the cherries I had frozen from last summer
150 ml Port wine
300 ml red wine
6 tablespoons sugar
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
2-3 teaspoons cornstarch
1 lemon - juice and zest


Method

For the risotto
Melt butter in a large pot. Add the rice and stir while it cooks and takes on a glassy color - approx. 1 minute. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the vanilla pod and seeds, the cinnamon and the star anise. Pour in a ladle full of the coconut milk and stir until the milk has incorporated into the rice. Add some of the sugar and stir until dissolved

Once the rice starts to get dry add more of the milk and sugar. Repeat this procedure and keep stirring at regular intervals. This "massages" the rice to release the creamy starch for a perfect consistency. This process should take about 15-20 minutes. The rice grains should be soft but still have a slight crunch to them.

For the cherry compote
Bring cherries, Port, wine, sugar, cinnamon stick, star anise and lemon zest to  a boil in a heavy saucepan over moderate heat.

Stir together cornstarch and lemon juice until smooth, then stir into boiling liquid. Boil for 1 minute the remove from heat and cover. Allow to rest for approx. 15 minutes. Serve warm.

Tip: You can make the compote 2 days ahead. Allow to cool completely then cover and chill in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before serving.