Some years ago, I felt I had reached my limits when it came to risotto. I had ordered too many rich claggy mushroom risottos in restaurants where the cooking of the meat looked questionable. I was left feeling that if I never saw another risotto in my life it would be too soon. However, a recipe from Waitrose has changed my mind completely and placed risotto back on the dinner table at Casa de Lewis.
This recipe was originally for Chantenay Carrot Risotto, however, I picked up some baby carrots from our local store instead of going all the way down to Waitrose just for a bag of short fat carrots. I think the baby carrots worked perfectly, and I suspect than normal carrots may also have worked,
500g Waitrose Small Chantenay Carrots,
ends trimmed and scrubbed
1 litre fresh Cooks’ Ingredients Vegetable Stock
4 tsp olive oil
20g unsalted butter
1 onion, finely diced
1 celery stalk, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
250g arborio rice
175ml dry white wine
40g parmigiano reggiano, finely grated, plus extra to serve
Preheat the oven to 200 ̊C, gas mark 6.
Thinly slice half of the carrots and put them into a saucepan with the stock and 250ml water. Bring to the boil and then simmer for fifteen minutes until tender.
Meanwhile, in another large saucepan, heat 3 tsp of oil and 10g of butter over a medium heat. Sweat the onion, celery and garlic with a pinch of salt for ten minutes until soft.
Next, roast the other half of the carrots. I left the baby carrots mostly whole, but if you do use the Chantenay carrots the recipe originally recommended, halve them lengthways (leave any really small ones whole). Toss with the remaining 1 tsp oil and season season. Spread out on a parchment-lined baking tray and sprinkle with 10g cheese. Roast for twenty minutes, turning halfway.
Stir in the Arborio rice into the pan with the onion, celery and garlic, and then pour in the wine. Stir until the wine is absorbed.
Lift the sliced carrots from the stock with a slotted spoon and place in a blender with 120ml of the stock. Whizz until smooth to create a carrot purée.
Keep the remaining stock warm over a low heat and start adding to the rice, 2 ladlefuls at a time. Keep stirring the risotto and adding more stock until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is just tender to the bite (about twenty minutes).
Stir the carrot purée and the remaining 10g butter and 30g cheese into the risotto. Then cover and leave to stand for 5 minutes.
Divide between plates, topped with the roasted carrots, some black pepper and a little more grated cheese. This was the picture from the Waitrose recipe – skilled photographers make meals look even more delicious. But please accept my promise that this carrot risotto was truly delicious and I am sure we will be trying it again this spring.