Risotto: Carrot, Cumin, Vodka, Creme Fraiche

carrot risotto, vodka, cumin, creme fraiche
Carrot, Cumin, Vodka, Creme Fraiche
Parmesan, Nasturtium Blossom

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

carrot vodka risotto


  • 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

carrot risotto recipe


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.

risotto carrot vodka cumin creme fraiche
Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan and a pretty, peppery, orange nasturtium blossom.

Grazie for the inspiration, Marie!

15 thoughts on “Risotto: Carrot, Cumin, Vodka, Creme Fraiche”

  1. I didn’t know Marie had an ebook. I’ll follow your link.

    This is a wonderfully inspired dish and perfect for you-know-what coming up this month. 🙂

    1. Hi Joan – you definitely have to check out Marie’s book! So many great sauce ideas.
      This dish was actually conceived with the challenge in mind too. I tried it with salmon. ORANGE! But I’ve got other ideas…

    1. Marie – thank you so much for your delightful colorful delicious inspiration over the years. Your SAUCE book is terrific. It’s on my computer, and I find myself scrolling through it regularly. Not only for ideas, but for tried and true sauce recipes for everyday. I love that pizza sauce recipe. Can’t wait to show that one to my nephews. They will definitely get a kick out of its unconventional method!
      Grazie my friend,

  2. I was cleaning out the pantry recently and found a bag of unopened risotto rice and since then I haven’ t been able to stop thinking about what to make with it, lol! This sounds pretty perfect to me, not to mention that it’s absolutely beautiful!

  3. I am goin to follow limk also. This is such a pretty dish…so delicate…

  4. This must be the prettiest and most appetizing risotto I have ever seen! Well, I normally use white wine, do have a terrific Emilia-Romagna recipe with Italian Barolo [red], but have never used vodka for ‘that special flavour’! Can’t wait to try!!!!!!

  5. What an amazing risotto! I just want to grab a fork and start eating. The color is gorgeous and I love all of the ingredients, especially the use of the creme fraiche.

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