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Sweet Carrot Risotto Recipe

Sweet Carrot Risotto
Difficulty: Easy | Total Time: | Makes: 4 servings

The idea behind this surprisingly rich vegetarian recipe—a risotto made with carrot broth and juice—was loosely adapted from Amanda Cohen, the chef and owner of Dirt Candy in Manhattan, who spoke with CHOW.com. The dish, which we modified for the home cook, will please both the meat-eaters and herbivores around your table.

INGREDIENTS

For the carrot purée:

  • 2 1/2 quarts water
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 12 ounces carrots (about 4 to 5 medium), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice

For the broth:

  • 1 1/2 pounds carrots, cut into large chunks
  • 1 medium celery stalk, coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 fresh thyme sprig
  • 1 bay leaf

For the risotto:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups short-grain rice, such as Arborio or Carnaroli
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 12 ounces carrots (about 4 to 5 medium), peeled and shredded on the large holes of a box grater
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (grated on the small holes of a box grater), plus more for serving
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
INSTRUCTIONS
For the carrot purée:

  1. Place the water in a large saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Stir in the salt. Add the carrots and boil them until just tender, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the carrots to a blender. (Reserve the water in the saucepan for the broth.) Blend the carrots with 3/4 cup of the hot water from the saucepan until smooth, adding additional water 1 tablespoon at a time if the purée is too thick. (You should have about 1 1/2 cups.) Set aside.

For the broth:

  1. Place all of the ingredients in the reserved hot carrot-cooking water, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove the cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until a light carrot flavor develops, about 30 minutes. Strain into another large saucepan and discard the solids. Keep the broth at a bare simmer over low heat while you prepare the risotto.

For the risotto:

  1. In a large straight-sided pan, heat the oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion, garlic, and thyme and season with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the onion is translucent, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  2. Add the rice and measured salt and cook, stirring constantly, until the rice starts to crackle, about 1 minute. Add the wine and cook, stirring constantly, until the wine has evaporated, about 1 minute more. Add the grated carrots and cook, stirring, until the carrot strips start to wilt, about 45 seconds.
  3. Add about 2/3 cup of the warm broth and cook, stirring frequently, until the rice has almost completely absorbed it. Continue adding broth, 2/3 cup at a time, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes. (Do not let the pan get dry—there should be a veil of stock over the rice at all times.) Stir in the reserved carrot purée and season with salt and pepper. When almost all of the liquid from the purée has been absorbed, add more broth, a little at a time, and taste regularly, until the rice is tender but firm to the bite, about 10 to 15 minutes more.
  4. When the risotto is done, stir in the Parmesan and butter. Season with salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.
  5. Just before serving, add a little of any remaining broth to loosen the risotto. Taste and season with additional salt, pepper, or lemon juice. Serve warm with more Parmesan.