Caramelized carrot rosemary pancetta risotto


Based on this recipe:

After pulling off this risotto recipe, I'm confident that I'll be cooking risotto more often.

The recipe was mainly an inspiration to caramelize the carrots - I didn't purée any of them, or really follow the rest of the recipe. The flavour of the caramelized carrots really spread through the dish - rosemary was the other note that came through.

Make sure you caramelize the carrots - I had put in a bit too much butter & oil and the carrots sweated out some liquid, so I had to spoon some of it out to get the carrots to brown. Reserve that liquid and add it later, it was deliciously sweet & carrot-y.

The pancetta was very mild in flavour. The more pronounced smokiness of guanciale could have worked, but it would also have competed with the carrots. What was excellent from the pancetta was the fat, which added to the creamy consistency, as well as adding some nice toothsome texture.

I used Better Than Bouillon vegetable stock paste, which worked well (and in general is my favourite prepared stock base).

I briefly considered working in some of the other cheeses we had (eg a mild and creamy blue cheese) but was glad I stuck with 'just' a cup or so of grated Parmesan.

Parsnip and apple coleslaw

Parsnip and apple coleslaw
Serves 2 as a main meal, 4 as a small side dish

2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp good olive oil
1 tsp clear honey
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
175g parsnips
100g carrots
100g red cabbage
1 Cox’s apple, or your preferred eating apple, weighing approximately 150g
Handful of fresh parsley leaves, roughly chopped
25g walnuts, roughly chopped

1 Place the vinegar, oil, honey and mustard in a small jar and season with a small pinch of salt and a good grinding of black pepper. Screw on the lid and give it a shake until it’s pale and combined. Taste, adjust the seasoning if necessary, and set aside.

2 Peel the parsnip(s) and slice out the woody core – you’ll end up with about 100g parsnip. Coarsely grate and place in a large bowl. Peel and coarsely grate the carrot(s) and add to the parsnip. Very finely slice the red cabbage and add to the bowl.

3 Quarter the apple and slice out the core. Coarsely grate the apple, discarding any large pieces of skin. Add to the vegetables with the parsley leaves and half the walnuts.

4 If the dressing has started to separate, give it a shake again, then pour over the coleslaw. Toss the salad to coat in the dressing and then divide between two plates. Scatter over the remaining walnuts and serve. For a more filling meal, serve it with a chunk of blue cheese and warm crusty bread (it’s also good with a greasy pork chop and apple sauce if you’re not vegetarian).

Used 2 parsnips and 4 small carrots. 1/4 of a small / medium head of green cabbage. 1 Tbsp honey, 1 Tbsp dijon, only a splash of cider vinegar. Zest from one lemon, plus used the fresh lemon juice from the whole lemon. No parsley, no walnuts (so it's very plain and orange / green looking).

My version is definitely more of a side dish version.