• The Reynas

24 Carrot Gold Risotto



To know me, is to know my love for risotto. It's a dish that I set out to master early on in my cooking days, and it's become a go-to when I need to put a side dish together that I can do in my sleep. Yet, it's never the same recipe twice. It's that versatile.


Once you master the cooking technique, risotto becomes a beautiful, blank canvas that allows your culinary imagination to run wild while being protected by delectable, creamy rice. A prime example is today's post, carrot risotto. Yes, risotto can even make the often forgotten carrot a culinary star.


This recipe is broken down into three parts: 1) homemade carrot juice; 2) grilled carrot ribbons; and 3) risotto. I'll tackle the carrot juice and carrot ribbons first because you need those for the risotto.


However, before we get started, here's one quick note about the measurements used in this recipe. To be more accurate about the quantity of dry ingredients used, this recipe primarily uses weight measurements (e.g., grams) instead of volume (e.g., cups). Why weight, you ask?

In short, volume measurements are not as accurate as weight measurements.

Does that mean that you have to use a scale to make this recipe? HELL NO.

I cook by feel, which means I don’t follow recipes. I honestly just wing it. But I’ve experimented enough to know what works and what doesn’t. But that's not helpful when I'm trying to pass along a recipe, which is the point of this post. Thus, I decided to take the extra step and weigh everything for recipe building purposes.

Regardless of how close you are to the measurements, I promise this dish will be delicious. And to ease any anxiety, I’ve even given approximations for the dry ingredients (e.g., 5 large carrots or 1.5 cups).

With all that being said, I offer no apologies for my use of the metric system in lieu of the U.S. customary units when using weight measurements (i.e., grams vs. ounces).

Ok. Let’s start cooking!


CARROT JUICE

This makes more carrot juice than you need for this recipe. But if you’re going through the hassle of making carrot juice, then go ahead and make extra. You'll thank me later. If you are buying carrot juice, then buy 355 ml (1.5 cups) worth.

Ingredients

711 ml water (3 cups)

540 grams carrots (4.5 cups or approx. 5 large carrots)

44 ml lemon juice (3 tablespoons or approx. juice of two lemons)

390 grams ice cubes (3 cups)

Directions

1. Place all ingredients into the blender container in the order listed and secure the lid.

2. Blend for 1 minute or until desired consistency is reached.

3. Separate out the 355ml (1.5 cups) needed for the risotto. Drink the rest!

4. Refrigerate the 355 ml until needed.


CARROT RIBBONS

Ingredients

3 large carrots

1 tablespoon canola oil

salt and pepper

Directions

1. Get your grill ready. You will need half a chimney starter full of charcoals. Once the coals are ready, place a large chunk of hickory wood in the middle of the bottom grate. Cover the hickory with the hot coals, keeping the coals in the center for direct heat cooking.

2. Peel the carrots into long ribbons until you have 224 grams of ribbons or about as much as seen below.


3. Place ribbons in a bowl, add canola oil, and gently toss.

4. Add salt and pepper to the ribbons and gently toss.

5. Grill the ribbons for 5-7 minutes. We recommend using a grill basket. Gently toss the ribbons so they cook evenly. A slight char is ok but don’t let them burn.

6. Remove the ribbons from the grill and spread onto sheet pan and place in the refrigerator to chill and stop the cooking process.


7. Once the carrots are cold, chop into ½ inch pieces.


8. Set aside until needed.


RISOTTO

Ingredients

450 grams risotto-style rice, either Carnaroli or Arborio (2 cups)

4 tablespoons butter (unsalted)

140 grams Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated (1.5 cups)

9 grams garlic, minced (approx. 3 cloves)

118 grams shallots, minced (approx. 3 medium shallots)

161 grams leeks, minced (approx. 2 leeks)

4 grams lemon zest (1 tablespoon)

13 grams cilantro leaves, roughly chopped (approx. 1/3 cup)

13 grams dill fronds, chopped roughly (approx. 1/3 cup)

13 grams mint leaves, chiffonade (approx. 1/3 cup)

355 ml carrot juice, see carrot juice directions above (1.5 cup)

947 ml low sodium chicken stock (4 cups)

237 ml dry white wine (1 cup)

118 ml heavy cream, whipped to stiff peaks (0.5 cup)

59 ml canola oil (0.25 cup)

salt to taste

pepper to taste

carrot ribbons, see recipe above


The following pictures reflect the desired mincing, chiffonading, and whipping of the ingredients.



Directions

1. In a bowl, whip the cream to stiff peaks. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

2. Chop fresh herbs and mix into a single bowl.

3. Pour the stock into a pot, bring to a simmer, and turn the heat down to the lowest setting. Cover the pot to prevent evaporation.

4. Heat a 5-quart sauteuse pan (see the pics below) over med-low heat and add the oil.

5. Add the shallots and leeks and cook until they are completely soft. Reduce the heat if necessary to keep them from browning.


6. Add the garlic, stir, and cook for a minute.

7. Add the rice and continue to cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, for about 3-5 minutes until the rice takes on a golden blond color and nutty aroma.

8. Add the white wine and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the rice absorbs all of the wine. Keep cooking the rice until you no longer smell the alcohol aroma from the wine. 9. At this point, taste a few rice grains, but be careful they are hot. Remember how firm these are at this point.

10. Ladle enough hot stock over the rice to barely cover it. Continue to cook, stirring, until the stock is absorbed.


11. Add more stock to cover the rice and stir continuously as the stock is absorbed.

12. Repeat this process until most of the stock is absorbed. You may not need all of the stock so it is important to taste the rice frequently to determine its doneness.

13. Just BEFORE the rice is al dente, switch from the stock to the fresh carrot juice. Pour half of the juice into the pan and stir until absorbed. Then add the rest of the juice and stir until absorbed. The carrot juice is added at the end when the rice is almost done to add fresh carrot flavor. If you add all the carrot juice and the rice is not al dente, then switch back to the stock. It will be fine.


14. Once the rice is cooked al dente, add the butter and stir until the butter is emulsified.

15. Add the grilled carrot ribbons.

16. Add the Parmigiano-Reggiano and stir until thoroughly combined.

17. If necessary, add a little more chicken stock so the surface flattens out in the pan. Risotto should flow like lava if you tilt the pan or plate. It should not be clumpy.

18. Take the risotto off the heat.

19. Fold in the whipped cream.


20. Fold in ¾ of the herb mixture. Reserve the rest.

21. Add the lemon zest.

22. Add salt and pepper to taste.

23. Divide the risotto between warm plates (i.e., not room temperature plates).

24. Sprinkle remaining herb mixture on top of each plate equally.


And there you have it, carrot risotto. The smokiness of the grilled ribbons plays well with the freshness of the carrot juice and the fresh herbs. This is a complex carrot dish. Who knew that was possible?


Well, now you do!


We plated this risotto with sea bass. The sweetness of the carrots and the fresh herbs were a wonderful companion to the sea bass. We paired this dish with a dry Furmint from Tokaj, Hungary and a Roussanne from Washington state. Both wines paired excellently with the dish, but for different reasons. The high acidity and lemon flavor of the Furmint brought out the lemon flavors in the risotto (i.e., the zest and juice) and it heightened the fresh herbs. The full-bodied nature of the Roussanne balanced out the richness of the cheese and the apricot aromas were a lovely mix with the carrots.


I hope you enjoyed this recipe. It made for a memorable meal, and I'm confident it will do the same for you!


Love,


John




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