This dish is a favorite at our house and gets requested often. Risotto is notoriously time consuming because of all the stirring required, but I always enlist the help of my daughter, who’s been stirring the risotto pot since she was little. It’s a big help and I just pop an oven mitt on her arm and away she goes. If you’re short on time, the caramelized carrots are magnificent in their own right and could easily be made as a side dish to any dinner.
- 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
- 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
- 6 medium carrots, peeled and chopped as finely and evenly as possible
- About 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 5 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1/3 cup minced onion
- 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
- 1/4 cup freshly shredded parmesan cheese, plus 1/2 cup for garnish
- 1 Tbsp. finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus extra for garnish
- 1 tsp. roughly chopped fresh thyme
- 1/8 tsp 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 turn brown, a few minutes more. Reserve half of the carrots. In a blender (or I use a stick blender), puree other half with 3/4 cup hot water.
Bring chicken broth to a simmer and keep at a simmer, covered over low heat. (I just microwave the broth in a Pyrex measuring cup for about a minute and re-microwave as needed — it saves cleaning another pot.)
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 puree 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 of broth will remain).
Fold in reserved carrots (save a bit 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 the remaining parmesan, parsley and carrots. Serve immediately.
Makes 6-8 servings. Prep & Cook Time: about 1.5 hours
Recipe from Sunset Magazine, April 2008