Hooray for springtime! With spring and the Easter Bunny on my mind, I thought I’d share a recipe for new dish featuring carrots! I heard about a similar dish during an interview of the chef at Dirty Candy, a New York City based a vegetarian restaurant. I searched around for the recipe, but everything I found was just too labor intensive. I took a few ideas from here and there and created this recipe, which is a streamlined version, but still very delicious.
I’m a giant fan of risotto, and despite it not being the most figure-friendly dish, every once in awhile it’s definitely worth the splurge. As I tell students in my cooking classes, risotto doesn’t have to be something you only order in restaurants. Yes, it can be a be time consuming, but it is not difficult. If you can chop and stir, you can make excellent risotto. This particular risotto is just gorgeous, with it’s bright orange color and creamy texture, and since it’s chock-full of carrots, it might also be, dare I say, a little healthy?
The key to great risotto is simple: use the correct, short-grain Italian rice (Arborio or Carnaroli), ‘toast’ it in the oil before adding any broth, and make sure that broth is hot! And then all you need to do is stir, stir, stir! That’s really all there is to it. Grab a glass of wine (hey, you need it for the recipe anyway!) and settle in next to the stove for a bit! In this version, there is one extra step where you make a super-simple carrot puree to add to the dish at the end. The color and texture it brings is well worth the extra 5-10 minutes, so don’t skip it.
If you use vegetable broth, this is a great meat-free dish for Good Friday too! Usher in Easter weekend with some springtime flare!
2 cups chopped carrots
2 cups grated carrots (grated on the large side of a box grater)
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice (short grain Italian rice)
1/2 cup dry white wine (something you’d drink!)
6 cups vegetable or chicken broth
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
grated Parmesan cheese
In a medium saucepan, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add chopped carrots and a teaspoon of salt. Boil until carrots are softened, about 5-7 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer cooked carrots to either a blender or a food processor. Add 1/2 cup of the cooking water to the blender/processor and puree until smooth. Set aside.
Empty the remaining water from the pan and add the broth. Heat to a simmer and keep warm.
In a large pan, heat 2 table spoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter until hot but not smoking. Add chopped onion and shredded carrots, then the garlic. Saute a few minutes over medium heat until softened.
Add the rice to the pan and ‘toast’ for a couple of minutes until the rice grains are coated in oil and begin to very lightly color. Add wine, and stir until it is almost fully absorbed.
Begin adding broth, about 1/2-3/4 cup at a time, continuously stirring until nearly absorbed before adding more. Repeat the adding/stirring until risotto is tender to the bite (but still al dente). This usually takes about 20 minutes. Add carrot puree to the pan and heat through. Add 2 remaining tablespoons of butter and Parmesan cheese to taste. Serve immediately.