I buy all of my books used. Online, most of the time, on recommendation from friends or other people out there in the interwebs. Or from used book stores, garage sales, the little church around the corner that spills used knickknacks, clothes and books onto the sidewalk every weekday morning in a makeshift thrift store. I do it because they're less expensive that way, for one. And I buy a lot of books. But there's also the thrill of the hunt, or better, the thrill of discovery. Which happens in two ways. Finding the book itself, obviously. But also finding other people's notes in their books.
When I got John Ash's From the Earth to the Table, there were a couple of dog-ears, and a few bookmarks. Charmingly, and appropriately for the season, one of the bookmarks was an insert from a magazine on which was printed recipes for holiday baking. And the food splattered dish it marked was this carrot risotto. We don't have any real snow yet in New York City, so the weather can be kind of drab. Bright orange carrot juice at least solves the problem of no color. And it's a wonderful riff on the stock-soaked risotto, pretty healthy with all that juice and the addition of extra carrots during cooking. Ash suggests a variation using a mixture of carrot juice and fennel juice, which I'm sure would also be great. Keep this recipe in your files in case you get a juicer for the holidays. That way you don't have to wait for the fruit of summer before you put it to use.
Adapted from John Ash's From the Earth to the Table
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
about 2 shallots, minced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
about 3 carrots, grated
3 cups vegetable stock
2 cups carrot juice
2 tablespoons minded fresh parsley
2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Lemon juice to taste (about 1 medium lemon)
A handful of wild mushrooms, whatever you find in your market.
First, saute your mushrooms in a little butter until they're cooked through and browned. Set aside. Pour the stock and the carrot juice into a large saucepan and heat through. Keep it warm as you add it to the risotto.
Melt the 3 tablespoons of butter over medium in a large skillet and sauté the shallots until they're soft and translucent. Add the rice and cook for about 3 minutes, until the rice also turns translucent. Add the wine and stir until it is absorbed into the rice. Add the grated carrots, and then start adding the stock/carrot juice 1/2 cup at a time. Stir the rice well between each addition, as the rice should soak up the stock before you add more. It will take more time as you add more stock and the rice becomes more saturated. Continue to add stock until it is basically all used up and the risotto is creamy. The rice shouldn't be mushy however, so stop while it still has a bit of bite to it.
Add the herbs and cheese and stir to incorporate it. Season with salt and pepper, and a little lemon juice in order to cut some of the sweetness of the carrots. Serve with the sautéd mushrooms mounded on top and an extra sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.