I just happened to be thinking about making risotto while reading the Proud Italian Cook’s fabulous new ebook, Italian Sauces My Way (highly recommended and available here). In her book, my friend Marie has a recipe for Vodka Cream Sauce which she recommends spooned over steamed mussels, ravioli, gnocchi, or the classic penne pasta. It’s not a complicated sauce but the vodka makes it fancy, taking her delicious basic marinara to another level. Anyway, her wonderful sauce got me thinking about pairing vodka and risotto.
Other than tomato, what vegetable would pair well with vodka? Beet, celery, and carrot all sounded right. I decided to make the first trial with carrot. I added a kiss of cumin and a some creme fraiche for the creamy element. The color was so incredibly lovely, I didn’t want to detract from it. So the dish was finished with a nasturtium flower from the garden, keeping that monochromatic look.
Carrot Vodka Risotto Recipe
- 5 1/2 c. chicken or vegetable broth
- 3 T. olive oil, divided
- 1/2 c. finely chopped shallot
- 1/2 c. vodka
- 1 1/2 c. arborio rice
- 2 c. shredded carrot
- 1/2 c. carrot juice
- 3/8 t. ground cumin
- 3 T. creme fraiche
- salt and pepper to taste
- parmesan cheese
- nasturtium blossoms
In one pot, bring broth to a simmer. In another heavy-bottomed sauce pan, heat 2 T. oil over medium-high heat. Add shallot and cook until it becomes a very light golden color. Add rice and stir to coat all the grains. Add vodka and cook until almost but not completely evaporated. Then turn down the heat and add the broth, one ladle at a time, constantly stirring as the rice absorbs the liquid.
Meanwhile sauté shredded carrot in 1 T. olive oil until it begins to caramelize. Add a bit of water if necessary. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat carrot juice in a small pan, stir in cumin. When the rice is tender and creamy, add the sauteed carrots and carrot juice, stir until the juice is absorbed. Remove from heat. Fold in the creme fraiche. Add grated Parmesan if desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Grazie for the inspiration, Marie!