Caramelized Carrot Risotto

Photo: Annabelle Breakey; Styling: Dan Becker

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.

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

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Recipe Time

Tota;: 1 Hour, 15 Minutes

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 302
  • Calories from fat: 42%
  • Protein: 9.1g
  • Fat: 14g
  • Saturated fat: 7.1g
  • Carbohydrate: 33g
  • Fiber: 4.1g
  • Sodium: 696mg
  • Cholesterol: 25mg

Ingredients

  • 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
  • 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

Preparation

  1. 1. 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.
  2. 2. Bring chicken broth to a simmer and keep at a simmer, covered, over low heat.
  3. 3. 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.
  4. 4. 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).
  5. 5. 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.
  6. 6. Sprinkle each bowl of risotto with some of remaining 1/2 cup parmesan, remaining 1 tbsp. parsley, and reserved carrots. Serve immediately.
  7. Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.
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.

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