Our CSA farm, Potomac Vegetable Farms, takes great pride in their sweet onions. Onions’ flavor is heavily dependent on the soil they are grown in, so great onions require careful treating of the soil and are a good indicator of a farmer’s commitment to the land. Carrots from our farm are likewise sweet and flavorful, and carrot puree from our CSA share was one of my son’s favorite baby foods. He has a more fickle attitude towards raw carrots now, so I came up with this creamy risotto as a way to get some of that vitamin-A rich carrot into him. The husband was skeptical but surprised that it didn’t taste “too healthy.” People often think risotto is unhealthy but in fact a lot of the creaminess comes from the starch of the rice, and you can make perfectly rich risotto with just a little butter and cheese, no cream needed.
Rice is traditionally a heavily pesticide-treated crop, so in addition to the dirty dozen produce items, look for organic rice when you can. I love Lundberg‘s organic California-grown rices for most other uses, but use an organic Italian carnaroli, from Cascina Belvedere, for risotto.
Recipe: Organic Carrot Risotto
- 4 large organic carrots, peeled
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 shallots, diced
- 1 1/2 cups organic carnaroli or arborio rice
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 cups water (including reserved carrot water)
- pinch of white pepper
- 1/4 cup parimigianno reggiano, grated
- minced parsley to garnish
Instructions: Cut carrots into 1/2-inch pieces and steam until just tender, approximately 10-12 minutes. Reserve the water, and puree cooked carrots with in food processor until smooth. Add spoonfuls of cooking water as needed to thin the puree; it should be about the same consistency as apple sauce.
Add water to reserved carrot water to make 2 cups. Combine with stock in a stock pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and leave to simmer while you begin the risotto. In a dutch oven or large saucepan, heat butter over medium low until melted. Cook shallots until soft and translucent (do not brown), about 5 minutes. Stir in carrot puree and cook 2 minutes. Stir in rice and cook 1 minute. Ladle in broth, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring and letting cook until liquid is absorbed between each addition. Repeat until all the liquid is added and rice is thick and creamy, about 25 minutes. Stir in pepper, salt and cheese; stir and remove from heat. Sprinkle with parsley and serve. Makes 4 servings. Enjoy!