We buy 10-pound bags of carrots at Costco (only 50 cents a pound!) for juicing, so since they’re always around, I find myself on a neverending quest for creative and delicious ways to use them in meals (see: carrot ragout, carrot ravioli, carrot soup, carrot pickles, carrot muffins, carrot sauce for pasta….). This time up, I decided to use one of my favorite blank templates for flavors: risotto. I simply roasted the carrots with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme from the garden, processed them with a little cream until creamy but still slightly chunky, and stirred them into risotto with some Parmesan to highlight their sweetness. I have to say, it was pretty darn good, especially for only costing less than $2.40 for the entire pot.
As below it makes about 2 servings…I’m embarrassed to admit I can no longer tell if something’s a second-trimester-pregnant-lady serving or a normal serving, so just to be on the safe side, assume it feeds two with some possible leftovers.
• About 5-7 medium carrots, peeled and cut into chunks: 15 cents
• A handful of large thyme sprigs (garden), leaves removed: $0
• 1 medium onion, chopped: 12 cents
• 1 T olive oil: 6 cents
• 2 T butter: 12 cents
• 1 T cream: 4 cents
• 1 cup arborio rice: 92 cents
• 3 1/2 cups chicken broth or stock: 25 cents
• About 1/2 cup Parmesan, grated (I didn’t measure, since I only had a small chunk of cheese left, so anywhere between 1/2 and 3/4 cup should suffice): 70 cents
• Salt and pepper to taste: 2 cents
TOTAL: $2.38/2 = $1.19/serving
Preheat oven to 425 F.
Toss the carrots with olive oil, salt, pepper, and the thyme. (I picked most of the leaves off the sprigs and tossed them in whole for extra flavor.)
Cover the dish tightly with foil and roast for about 20-30 minutes, or until tender and starting to brown.
Add the carrots and 1 T cream to a food processor (or blender or ricer) and process until creamy but still slightly chunky.
Meanwhile, heat the broth or stock in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
Melt the 2 T butter over medium heat in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and cook until translucent, about 5-6 minutes. Add the rice and cook until edges of rice become translucent, about 3 minutes. Deglaze the pot with 1/2 cup of chicken broth and cook, stirring constantly, until absorbed, about 2 minutes.
And now, for the kinda-cheating-but-perfect-every-time technique you might recall from the lemon risotto: Add the 3 cups hot broth all at once, reduce heat to medium low, and cook, covered, for about 18 minutes, stirring twice during cooking. When finished, stir for 3 minutes straight to release starch until rice becomes noticeably creamy. Stir in the cheese and processed carrots, remove from the heat, and let sit covered for 5 minutes.