Risotto is comfort food to me and is a dish a crave when I am busy or feeling stressed. I find the process of making risotto the traditional way by slowly stirring between additions of a little broth to be very relaxing. Unless I am pressed for time, I do prefer making my risotto this way. One of the things I like best about risotto is that you can flavor it in so many ways. Looking for something a little different one day, I decided I’d make a carrot risotto. I used both carrot juice and grated carrots to flavor a basic risotto and ended up with a subtly sweet, creamy bowl of goodness. I have made this carrot risotto twice so far, once I made it simply with grated carrots and carrot juice, and the next time I added in some diced roasted carrots just before the risotto was finished cooking. Both versions were tasty, but I think I prefer the creamy one without the addition of roasted carrots. For added texture and color, sweet peas would be a nice addition also. I topped my risoto with some lightly toasted hazelnuts which added texture and a nutty flavor, but feel free to eliminate the hazelnuts if you prefer.
Almost every risotto begins with sautéing some chopped onion in butter or a mixture of butter and oil which lays the flavor base on which the rest of the recipe is built on. Once the onion is tender, the rice is added and stirred until well coated with the oil. Sometimes a splash of wine is used next, and once it has been absorbed, small amounts of hot broth are added. During this period of adding liquid to the rice, it must be stirred constantly, cooked gently over a low boil. The final flavorings are often added in the last few minutes of the cooking process. Once it has completed cooking, it is removed from the heat, and a little butter, and sometimes grated parmesan are added.
Apart from the flavoring ingredients, the two most important ingredients are the rice and the broth. You should use an Italian variety of rice that is specifically grown in Italy, such as Arborio, Vialone Nano, or Cararoli. Arborio can now be found in most American grocery stores, but certainly can be found at an Italian specialty store. I have begun to use Acquerello risotto which although it a little expensive, it does create a perfect dish of risotto every time. The broth should be homemade to ensure the most flavor, but if time or circumstances make having homemade broth impossible, use the best canned broth you can find. I used organic vegetable broth in this dish.
Deborah Mele 2014
- 2 Cups Organic Carrot Juice
- 3 Cups Organic Vegetable Broth
- 6 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter (2 Tbsp Removed To Finish The Dish)
- 1/2 Cup Finely Chopped Onion
- 1 1/3 Cups Arborio Rice
- 1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
- 1 Cup Grated Carrots
- 1/3 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
- 1/2 Cup Lightly Toasted Hazelnuts To Serve (Optional)
- In medium saucepan, mix the vegetable broth and carrot juice and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat and reduce to a simmer.
- Heat 4 tablespoons of butter in a heavy saucepan.
- Add the onion and cook until they are translucent.
- Add the rice and stir until it is well coated with the butter.
- Add the white wine, and stir continually over medium heat until it is absorbed.
- Start to add 1/2 cup of hot broth and carrot juice blend, stirring as it is absorbed.
- Continue in this manner, adding ladles full of hot liquid, and stirring continuously for about 15 minutes.
- Add the grated carrot, and continue to cook in the same manner until the rice is cooked, but remains slightly firm to the teeth.
- Remove from the heat, add the remaining butter and the Parmesan cheese.
- Serve, offering additional cheese if desired.