Spring feasts are upon us-- Passover is concluding, Easter is this weekend, Earth Day is around the corner, and Mother's Day is soon to follow. Today was our first glorious 70-degree day in Oregon's Willamette Valley, and everything green and growing is excited. Flowers, grasses, early vegetables, and weeds. Did I mention weeds? If there is but one downside to Oregon in the spring, it is weeds.
Weed: (1): a plant that is not valued where it is growing and is usually of vigorous growth especially: one that tends to overgrow or choke out more desirable plants
Merriam Webster Dictionary
Coming out of the winter season-- the time of sinking roots deep down into the soil to enable future vigor-- means that spring can unleash an undesirable field of weeds. My two hands can't pluck fast enough. Maybe my heart and mind need a little weeding, too, to make space for a goldmine of more desirable growth.
Whether your spring celebrations are about freedom from bondage, the resurrection of a savior, or your motherly origins-- Mother Earth or your earthy mom-- you need a good feast. If you're tired of the same old scalloped or kugeled potatoes, 24-Karat Carrot Risotto a luxurious and celebratory substitute worthy of becoming a tradition.
Please don't let the visual length of the recipe frighten you. All of my recipes break things down into tiny digestible pieces. I tell you more than you may need to know-- color, scent, and what to look for each step of the way. You'll skim over these details if you comfortable, and you'll relish these queues if this is new ground you're digging. This recipe is naturally gluten free, and no one will notice that it is easily made dairy free and vegan.
Happy spring feasting. Happy weeding, be it outside or in.
The 24 Karat Feast: Carrot Risotto + Green Garlic Sauce
Course: Main Dish, Side Dish
Keyword: luxury side dish; Passover and Easter feast
Season: Evergreen (April - July)
Dietary: Egg-Free, Gluten-Free
Prep Time: 20minutes
Cook Time: 25minutes
Author: Pam Spettel
Use this risotto as a special side dish or luxurious main for all your springtime feasts. Either way, it's pure gold!
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
Make the carrot stock
Place the roughly chopped carrots in a small saucepan with 5 cups water. Generously salt the water. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and cover with a lid. Allow carrots to cook about 15 minutes, until fork tender but not falling apart. Using an immersion blender (stick blender) or traditional blender, blend the carrots into to cooking water until perfectly smooth. Keep warm and set aside.
Make the Risotto
While the stock is cooking, prep the shallot and garlic. In a large saucepan or saucier over medium heat, combine the butter and olive oil. Add the rice and sauted, stirring often, for about 5 minutes until the rice becomes opaque and fragrant. Add the shallot and garlic, stirring frequently, until they become translucent. The rice will continue to toast and become light beige while the shallot and garlic cook. Medium heat and frequent stirring will avoid any of the ingredients from deeply browning or burning at this point.
Add the dry white wine, stirring vigorously. Once it is nearly absorbed, begin adding one ladleful at a time of the warm carrot broth, stirring very frequently, until it is nearly absorbed, then repeat adding broth and stirring until the rice grains have cooked to al dente-- "to the tooth," meaning the centers still have a little bit of chewiness. If you use all the carrot broth and the rice isn't yet cook through, add water and cook, stirring all the time, until it reached your desired texture. By all means, avoid letting the pot go to overcooked mush.
In a small skillet or sauted pan, gently cook the small-diced carrots in butter until barely becoming tender, about 5 minutes over medium heat. You still want a little crunch to them, and they will add a nice texture contrast to the creamy risotto.
Place the carrot risotto in a serving bowl. Top with the pretty little carrot squares. Place a generous spoonful of green garlic sauce on top. Set remaining sauce on the table.
Make it Your Own:For a completely vegan dish, replace butter with olive oil.The white wine is optional, but makes a lovely difference if you can use it.This recipe does not include the traditional Parmesan cheese, but if dairy is not your concern, add 1/2 cup grated Parmesan to the finished risotto, and garnish with more on top if you'd like. If you have dairy-free people at your table, don't add it to the pot-- simply set out a bowl of grated Parmesan for the dairy-eaters to use on their portions. The green garlic can be replaced with scallions, or any number of fresh herbs. Mint would be lovely.
You’re in the right place to break up with cooking and hospitality anxiety, learn how to use recipes as guides rather than strict rules, and let your cooking intuition and confidence soar. I’m Pam Spettel, home cooking expert and guide, and I’m here to show you how.
Superpower: Dreaming up recipes that work, serving them to my friends and family, and writing little stories about how cooking them well is the same as loving well.
Inspiration: Ingredients! Fresh, colorful, fragrant, local, seasonal ingredients as an artistic medium.
Heroes: Food and wine producers– the people who keep me, my family, and our community nourished and happy.