With its vibrant orange colour, this healthy carrot risotto is sure to raise a smile. Made without butter or cheese this vegan recipe is still rich and delicious, using a carrot and garlic purée to add sweetness and creamy texture to the rice. Nutty, dry sherry works well with the earthy carrots and toasted seeds, but you can use white wine if preferred.
- Preheat the oven to gas 7, 220°C, fan 200°C. Heat 3 tbsp of the oil in a wide saucepan or deep frying pan over a low heat. Add the onion, celery and the crushed garlic cloves. Pick the leaves from half the thyme sprigs and add to the pan along with a pinch of salt. Cover and cook gently for 10 mins or until softened, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, place the carrots in a roasting tray with the whole garlic cloves and remaining thyme sprigs. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tbsp oil and season. Roast for 20-25 mins until just tender and slightly charred.
- Add the risotto rice to the onion mix and stir for 2 mins to toast the rice, then increase the heat to medium. Add the sherry (or wine) and simmer until the liquid has been absorbed. Add the hot stock one ladle at a time, stirring constantly and allowing the liquid to absorb each time before adding the next ladleful. Stop when you have about 2 ladles remaining.
- Remove the roasted carrots from the oven and discard the thyme sprigs. Set aside 12 of the carrots to serve, keeping warm. Add the rest of the carrots and garlic cloves (squeezed from their skins) to a food processor or blender with the remaining stock and blitz to a rough purée. Stir through the rice until fully combined, cooking for a final few minutes until the rice is tender.
- Add the seeds to a dry frying pan with a pinch of salt and toast for 2 mins over a medium heat, shaking the pan regularly to stop them burning. Serve the risotto garnished with the reserved carrots and toasted seeds sprinkled over.
Tip: If you can’t find slender bunched carrots, you can easily replace with regular varieties. Simply trim and chop about 550g of carrots into thin batons and roast as above.
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