Risotto: Carrot, Cumin, Vodka, Creme Fraiche

carrot risotto, vodka, cumin, creme fraiche
RISOTTO
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.

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Spinach Mushroom Risotto with Pecans

vegetarian risotto
Spinach Mushroom Risotto with Toasted Pecans
Chiffonade of Fresh Spinach Garnish

Combining two favorite risotto dishes – spinach risotto and mushroom risotto, into one – and adding toasted pecans plus an unexpected garnish of fresh spinach ribbons equals one bright and satisfying vegetarian meal. Crunchy toasted pecans contrast the creamy risotto, earthy caramelized mushrooms complement tender wilted baby spinach. A sprinkle of Parmesan and glass of wine were the only accompaniments.

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Meyer Lemon Arancini, Flower Confetti, Parmesan

meyer lemon arancini, lemon rice balls, ciao fiore appetizer
Cocktail Hour @ Ciao Fiore!
Meyer Lemon Arancini, Flower Petal Confetti, Parmesan

It’s cocktail hour at Ciao Fiore!  Meyer Lemon Risotto left over from the previous night’s service is formed into balls, coated with panko bread crumbs, and fried in canola oil. We need to watch our food costs so here we transform the day-old risotto into a delightful bar appetizer. Finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and a sprinkling of flower petal confetti make the presentation pop!

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Meyer Lemon & Pink Rose Petal Risotto

meyer lemon rose petal risotto
Meyer Lemon & Pink Rose Petal Risotto

Edible flowers are so darn pretty, it is easy to use them to garnish the plate and call it good. No complaints. But for this challenge I wanted to incorporate the flowers into my dishes so as to marry the flavors and colors, to create a synergy where all the elements of the dish are enhanced.

Lemon trees and rose bushes thrive side-by-side in the garden. The colors yellow and pink make a delightful pair. And the aromas of citrus plus floral make for a heady perfume. And so Meyer Lemon & Pink Rose Petal Risotto was born. A hint of rose water plus a chiffonade of “passionate kisses” rose petals transform this creamy citrus risotto into a blissful dish.

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Asian Risotto: Sushi Rice, Shrimp, Thai Basil, Shiso, Yuzu

asian risotto, shrimp risotto

Asian Risotto
Sushi Rice with Rosé & Sautéed Shrimp
Flavored with Thai Basil, Shiso, and Yuzu
Chiffonade of Shiso Garnish

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