Caramelized Carrot Risotto

March 11, 2011 by andrea | Filed under Comfort Food, Italian, Main Dish, Recipes, Rice, Side Dish, Spring, Vegetable, Vegetarian.

Recently, I was looking for carrot recipes and ran across this one for Caramelized Carrot Risotto. Since roasted carrots are one of my favorite winter side dishes and risotto is my favorite rice dish, I knew I had to make this recipe. While not a quick dish to make, it is definitely comfort food. The flavors are simple, mild and perfect for springtime. Husband called it Creamy Goodness…I totally agree!

Caramelized Carrot Risotto
-recipe from Sunset Magazine

It’s made the traditional way, but this risotto hits some extraordinary flavor notes, mainly because of two not-so-common risotto ingredients. One is creamy sweet mascarpone cheese. The other is carrots, slow cooked in a butter-oil bath until their sugars caramelize.

Note: To make this risotto even prettier, you can cut the carrots into 1/4-in. dice (it’s time-consuming, but makes the carrots look like little jewels). Mascarpone — a rich Italian-style cream cheese available at specialty, gourmet, and Whole Foods stores — can be replaced with an equal amount of heavy cream.

Yield: Makes 6 to 8 servings as a side dish or first course

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
6 medium carrots, peeled and chopped as finely and evenly as possible (about 3 cups; see Notes)
About 1/2 tsp. salt
1 teaspoon sugar
5 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup minced onion
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese (I used heavy cream)
1/4 cup freshly shredded parmesan cheese, plus 1/2 cup for garnish
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus 1 tbsp. for garnish
1 teaspoon roughly chopped fresh thyme
1/8 teaspoon white pepper

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 chicken 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 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 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, 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.

Sprinkle each bowl of risotto with some of remaining 1/2 cup parmesan, remaining 1 tbsp. parsley, and reserved carrots. Serve immediately.

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3 Responses to “Caramelized Carrot Risotto”

  1. HI,

    What a feast to eyes and yummy for tummy! thanks for sharing, I will give a try for my kiddos.

    -Mythreyi
    Yum! Yum! Yum!

  2. That does sound like a comforting meal. I am obsessed with carrots at the moment. I love the colour of this dish too.

  3. Jacky says:

    That looks gorgeous! I bet it is delicious. Will have to bookmark this for using up all the carrots we get in our Summer CSA. Thanks!