- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided (You can use olive oil for more flavor)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 6 medium carrots, peeled and chopped as finely and evenly as possible (about 3 cups) I use purple carrots. You can find them in specialized grocery stores, possibly Whole Foods, I know I buy mine at Berkeley Bowl, a market here in the East Bay, and I have seen them at some farmer’s markets
- About 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar (this can be excluded if you cook the carrots a bit longer, but if you’d like to use fake-sugar to get a bit of sweetness, it might help)
- 5 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
- 1/3 cup minced onion
- 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice (or Carnaroli)
- 1/2 cup dry white wine (I use a Sav. Blanc, Charles Shaw is fine)
- 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese (or Toffuti cream cheese if you are vegan/L.I.)
- 1/4 cup freshly shredded parmesan cheese, plus 1/2 cup for garnish (See notes above about cheese)
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus 1 tbsp. for garnish (Basil could also work, but parsley is great, my friend Mary doesn’t like parsley, so I would probably use basil instead in that instance)
- 1 teaspoon roughly chopped fresh thyme (Can be bought mostly anywhere. If you can’t find fresh thyme, use 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme, but it’s better if it is fresh)
- 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
Let’s make a Risotto!
1. 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.)*
* I never do this step, I leave the carrots whole because I like how they distribute throughout the rice. I forgot to do this blender step the first time I made this risotto, and it is an un-missed step.
2. Bring chicken broth to a simmer and keep at a simmer, covered, over low heat.
3. Heat remaining oil and butter over medium heat in same (unwashed) pot used for carrots. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add rice, stirring with a wooden spoon to coat rice with oil, 1 minute. Add wine and cook, stirring, until wine evaporates. Add carrots and mix together with the rice. Your rice will start to turn purple, because purple carrots have the same effect as beets.
4. 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).
*I usually cook the risotto longer, but not too long, just long enough. Usually the last steps in a heated pan do not cook the rice much more because the cheese makes the mixture very sticky and doesn’t allow the liquid to get through and cook, it just reduces in the pan. If you cook the risotto too long, all of your grains will be well cooked, but you will have a very mushy mixture, but if you cook it just slightly longer, most of your grains will be cooked perfectly, and you won’t have to worry about biting into hard grains.
5. Fold in mascarpone, 1/4 cup 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.
6. Sprinkle each bowl of risotto with some of remaining 1/2 cup parmesan, and remaining 1 tbsp. parsley. Serve immediately.
I served this particular cooking of it with some roasted asparagus that my friend Morgan made. I don’t remember what he did exactly, but the general rule for roasting asparagus is enough olive oil, salt, and pepper, and if you’re in the mood for it, a little lemon juice, to gently coat the veggies, tossed onto a foil-wrapped baking sheet in a 500º oven for 5-10 minutes.
Love and Happy Spatulas,