Carrot and Rosé Risotto

I love making the most of not much. Carrot Risotto is a long time stand by. Mind you, I did have the best Carnaroli rice, picked up in a late night opening Italian Deli, somewhere not far from Invalide, more than half way into our 8 week lockdown in Paris. What a pleasure it was to chat to another human, one doing everything he could to keep going, opening all the hours, offering door to door deliveries and generally keeping his chin up and greeting us with a smile.

You can play around with the stock - fish, chicken or vegetable, add a pinch of saffron, or do what I usually do with it which is to entirely replace stock with a whole bottle of Rosé, sparkling or not. Costs very few bucks, makes it extra fab and given that the carrots cost tuppence h'apenny, the extravagance is easily balanced out and you end up with a risotto which is way more sophisticated than you would expect from such humble beginnings. In fact I think of it as the vegetarian equivalent to the classic prawns and champagne risotto. Plenty parsley, couple chopped walnuts, grating nutmeg, more plenty Parmesan. Hey presto. And it’s so yum, I’ve been sneaking little forkfuls of the cold leftovers all afternoon. But if you could do as I say, not as I seem to have done, make it sloppier than this picture shows. 

The rice does need to be al dente but in my opinion, it is better on what I call “the other side of al dente”, that is to say with a little bite to be sure but certainly not chalky as seems to be some people’s understanding of the term

 

Serves 2 greedies copiously or 4 normals 

Ingredients

 

50 grams butter, divided

1 small red onion, finely chopped

1 humongous garlic clove, finely chopped

280g Carnaroli risotto rice

2 large carrots (c. 180g), peeled and thickly sliced

700ml Saffron Stock, or 1 whole bottle Rosé

2 Walnuts, chopped

Handful parsley, chopped

Parmesan to serve

Lots of s&p

 

Method

 

Usual method for making risotto!

First warm the Rosé in a pan. 

Melt 30g of the butter in a deep frying pan or shallow saucepan, fry onion and garlic till just starting to soften and translucent. Add rice and stir for a couple of minutes to coat and start the cooking process.

Add a ladle of hot stock/Rosé and let the rice absorb it before adding another ladleful.

Add carrots now. Fold through with rubber spatula or spoon that goes right into corners of pan. Reduce heat and slowly add the rest of stock or Rosé, a ladle at a time, stirring regularly and allowing the liquid to be absorbed in between additions.

Make sure that at the end, there is enough liquid left, so that the risotto is really quite sloppy though the rice has remained al dente.

Or you can, after the first ladle, add the rest in one go, leave on a very low heat and visit regularly over the next 15 mins to stir - it’s more of a folding and tossing motion actually - you can actually toss the pan back and forth with a short, sharp flick of the wrist, so risotto makes a rolling wave in the pan. Finish off with the remaining knob of butter. Let sit a couple of minutes. Add the PPPs - Parmesan, parsley, pepper at table. 

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