Spring Caramelized Carrot Risotto
Spring is here! (yippie!) The flowers are blooming.
The bees are buzzing, and I have a craving for more veggies. Spring veggies. Plus, I didn’t want everyone to think that we only eat desserts around this house.
We sat in the backyard this weekend reading, enjoying the weather, and enjoying hanging out together. For dinner on Sunday I made Caramelized Carrot Risotto and roasted asparagus while Dan grilled a steak. We ate on the back patio in the sunlight!
Some years spring just seems like a continuation of summer, for that matter, fall and winter are pretty much just mild summer around here. But, this year with all the rain and the cold weather from the El Nino, spring is a welcome change. I can see the plants coming back, and I’m excited to get my garden back into shape. This year I’ll be planting tomatoes, red peppers, beets, onions, carrots, yellow crookneck squash, zucchini, spaghetti squash, all kinds of herbs, and whatever the compost pile surprises me with.
The Caramelized Carrot Risotto is a great spring dish. It could be served with a simple broiled chicken breast (for those of you who eat chicken) or as I did and have a light spring meal with some tasty asparagus. The risotto takes awhile to make, but it’s really worth it, and none of the steps are difficult. Just be sure that you give yourself enough time to prep it.
With that, I’m off to enjoy the outdoors- it’s beautiful today!
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- 2 tablespoons grapeseed or other light tasting oil, divided use
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided use
- 6 medium carrots (about 3 cups), peeled
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 5 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1/3 cup onion, finely minced
- 1 ½ cups Arborio rice
- ½ cup dry white wine
- ¼ cup mascarpone cheese*
- ¼ cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus 1 tbsp. for garnish
- 1 teaspoon roughly chopped fresh thyme
- 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
- Grate carrots using the grater attachment of a food processor. If you don’t have a food processor, grate on the large holes of a box grater, or chop finely into even dice.
- Heat 1 tbsp oil and 1 tbsp butter over medium heat in a medium heavy-bottomed pot; add carrots and stir with a wooden spoon until well coated. Add 1/2 cup water, 1/2 tsp salt, and the sugar; cover and cook 5 minutes, or until tender. Uncover and cook, stirring occasionally, until water evaporates and carrots are just starting to brown, a few minutes more. Reserve half of the carrots. In a blender, purée other half with 3/4 cup hot water.
- Bring vegetable broth to a simmer and keep at a simmer, covered, over low heat.
- Heat remaining oil and butter over medium heat in same (unwashed) pot used for carrots. Add onion and cook until beginning to caramelize, about 8 minutes. Add rice, stirring with a wooden spoon to coat rice with oil, 1 minute. Add wine and cook, stirring, until wine evaporates. Add carrot purée and cook, stirring, until mixture no longer looks soupy.
- Add 1/2 cup hot broth, stirring often, until rice absorbs most of the liquid. Repeat process, adding 1/2 cup broth at a time and stirring often till each addition is absorbed before adding the next, until rice is al dente (about 20 minutes; at least 1 cup broth will remain).
- Fold in reserved carrots (save 2 tbsp for garnish), mascarpone, Parmesan, 1 tbsp parsley, and the thyme. Add up to 1 cup broth (1/4 cup at a time) to loosen the risotto. Season with salt and white pepper to taste. Sprinkle each bowl of risotto with remaining 1 tbsp parsley, and reserved carrots. Serve immediately.
- Cook’s notes: Mascarpone—a rich Italian-style cream cheese available at well-stocked grocery stores—can be replaced with an equal amount of heavy cream, cream cheese, or sour cream.
- Makes 6 to 8 servings
- Prep and Cook Time: 1 1/4 hours