Caramelized Carrot Risotto

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As my regular readers know, I love risotto.  For me, the creaminess of the rice combined with butter, cheese, and whichever add-ins fit your mood produces the ultimate comfort food.  When dining in restaurants,  I am quick to order risotto when I see it on menus.  A few places get the creaminess and consistency right while all too many restaurants produce a heap of rice with a few additions thrown in.  That is always a disappointment that makes me want to go home and make the dish right.  This caramelized risotto dish has just such an inspiration.  I saw it on a dinner menu and anticipated a tasty risotto appearing before me. Instead I was presented with plain rice with boiled carrots mixed in.  I knew I could make it better myself.

Depending upon your mood, can be served as either a side dish or as an entrée.  Roasting carrots results in a sweetness that makes this risotto so special.  Because the carrots need to be roasted, the prep time is a bit longer for this dish but the extra effort is worth it.  I served it with a barbecue chicken and a green salad for dinner then ate the leftovers by themselves the next day for lunch.  It was good both ways and so much better than the restaurant version that inspired the dish.

CARAMELIZED CARROT RISOTTO

2 cups diced carrots

1/3 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

3 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth

1 cup dry white wine

1 small red onion, minced

3 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 cups Arborio rice

1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese

Salt & pepper to taste

  • Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Place the diced carrots on a rimmed baking sheet.  Add the olive oil, 1/4 cup of water, and salt.  Toss to coat.
  • Roast for 40-50 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
  • Place the cumin seeds in a dry skillet and place over medium-high heat.  Stirring occasionally, toast until brown and fragrant.  Remove from the heat and place in a pestle.  Crush with a mortar and set aside.
  • Combine the broth and wine in a large sauce pot. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook for one minute.  Set aside keeping the broth mixture warm.
  • Melt the butter in another large sauce pan. Add the onions and saute until translucent.
  • Add the rice to the onions and butter and stir until well coated.
  • Add one ladle of the broth mixture to the rice and stir to combine.  Continue to add the broth to the rice, stirring occasionally and adding more broth as the liquid is absorbed.  Continue to stir and add broth until the rice is al dente.  You may not need to use all of the broth.
  • After adding the final broth, stir in the carrots and reserved cumin.  Stir well to combine.
  • Remove the rice from the heat, season with salt and pepper to taste, and add the parmesan cheese and stir well.
  • Serve immediately.

Serves: 4-6

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