risotto with smoky roasted carrots

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we're back from a weekend of love and celebration in raleigh - a weekend to witness my cousin derek and his wife, amanda, promise each other forever. our hearts are full with boundless joy for two people we love, and our memories are rich from time enjoyed with family. 

the week ahead is busy, but i find myself smiling thinking back on such abundance of laughter and love, and ahead to the excitement in store for us. next week, henry and i are headed to italy for our own much awaited honeymoon. in the three months since our wedding, our lives have returned to a state of "normal," which is a welcome comfort, but i'm also eager to carry on our celebration as newlyweds.

in the spirit of comfort, i wanted to share my most recent take on risotto - the warming blend of coriander, curry, and smoked paprika, heartiness of roasted carrots, and creamy rice is a welcome addition to the first chilly nights of the year, curled on the couch. i hope you enjoy.


risotto with smoky roasted carrots

i learned from my mom that risotto is a labor of love - it is not to be rushed. sip a glass of wine, and lose yourself in the rhythm of stirring the pot - it is a truly healing process if you allow it to be. 

the sweetness of these carrots, combined with smokey and warm spices, are a delicious accompaniment to the creaminess of the risotto. 

for the roasted carrots:

1 bunch of carrots (I used rainbow)

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

2 teaspoons coarse salt

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 tablespoon alderwood salt (optional - if you can find it, it adds a great smokey flavor, but if you can't find it, the blend will be delicious without it)

 

for the risotto:

1 1/4 cup arborio rice

4 cups vegetable stock

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

1 medium onion, chopped

2 large garlic cloves (one whole with skin on, one minced)

3/4 cup white wine

1 cup grated parmesan cheese (+ some for garnish)

1/2 cup greek yogurt (full fat - it makes a big difference)

1 teaspoon of coriander seasoning blend

2 tablespoons of carrot greens, finely chopped (+ some for garnish)

salt and pepper

preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. while the oven is preheating, add coriander seeds to a mortar and pestle and crush until they become a coarse powder. In a small bowl combine crushed coriander seeds, smoked paprika, salt, curry powder, and alderwood salt (if you have it). set aside.

peel carrots and trim greens. arrange carrots in a single layer on a large baking sheet. drizzle with olive oil and roll the carrots until completely coated. season generously with seasoning blend (and reserve the rest - some will be added to the risotto). add one garlic clove onto the baking sheet (this will be used later in the risotto), and transfer baking sheet to the oven. after about 25 minutes, remove garlic clove and set aside. allow carrots to roast for approximately 15 minutes longer (40 minutes total) and set aside to cool slightly.

while carrots roast, combine greek yogurt and 1 teaspoon of seasoning blend in a small bowl (there will be seasoning blend leftover that you can reserve for another time). squeeze roasted garlic from its skin and stir to combine; set mixture aside. add vegetable stock to a medium sauce pan and heat over medium low heat. add 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil to a large sauté pan over medium heat. add chopped onions, season with salt, and sauté for 10-12 minutes, until onions are soft and just starting to brown on the edges. add minced garlic clove and sauté for 2 minutes. add arborio rice and toast in pan for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. add white wine and stir constantly until it is completely absorbed by the rice. add 1/2 cup of warmed vegetable stock, and stir constantly. once stock is completely absorbed, continue to add stock, 1/2 cup at a time, waiting to add until the previous 1/2 cup is completely absorbed (don't rush this process and make sure to keep to stirring throughout the entire time - all in all, the whole process should take around 45-50 minutes.

after all of the stock is completely absorbed, add parmesan cheese, greek yogurt mixture, and 2 tablespoons of chopped carrot greens. mix until completely combined. season with freshly cracked pepper to taste.

transfer risotto to a large platter and top with roasted carrots. garnish with a sprinkling of carrot greens and grated parmesan cheese.