I have a bad habit of not actually eating my family style meals. Usually I’m sick of the flavors after tasting the whole time, sometimes I’m full from tasting the whole time, and I’m almost always working on the next dish while the diners dine. However, this was not one of those times, I ate my whole plate and then, thankfully, cooked just enough for seconds. While this dish is vegan, it has an incredible homey and hearty feel. The two different parts of the dish are tied together by fresh thyme and garlic and the crispy roasted vegetables balances the creamy risotto perfectly.
I love the balance of the roasted vegetables between the sweetness of the onions and carrots and the heartiness of the potatoes and celery root. The whole roasted garlic cloves are absolutely wonderful, as long as the person you’re kissing that night eats them, too! I recently tried cooking my risotto with beer rather than wine and really, really enjoyed the effect. I used my favorite beer in the world, Spotted Cow, found only in Wisconsin, to flavor the risotto. Risotto is about love and constant attention, so tasting and stirring constantly are a necessity. As always, season throughout and season to taste before serving, my measurements are only a base and will not create the perfect dish. I don’t think I invented fire or anything of the sort, but this is a dish with simple flavors and a great balance. When cooked correctly, this is the type of dish I enjoy more than anything else, which explains why I actually took a seat at the table and ate this time around.
Root Vegetable Risotto – serves 4
- Roasted Root Veggies
- 1/2 lb celery root, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 8 fingerling potatoes, scrubbed and cut in half
- 2 sweet onions, cut into 1/8s
- 3 carrots, peeled, cut into quarters
- 12 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped, plus 3 sprigs
- 1 sprig rosemary
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
Preheat oven to 375. Put veggies in a large baking dish and drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, rosemary, and thyme. Toss with hands. Put dish in oven, toss vegetables every 15 minutes for 1 hour, up to 1 hour and 15 minutes depending on when risotto finishes. My risotto wasn’t finished, but the veggies were, so I just turned the oven off and left them in for another 10 minutes. Everything can, and should, be eaten, on its own or with the creamy risotto.
- 1.75 cups Arborio rice
- 1 sweet onion, small dice
- 1 tbsp garlic, minced
- 1/2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
- 3/4 cup good beer, I used Spotted Cow, an ale
- 3.5 cups vegetable stock, warm
- salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 5 scallions, cut on bias
Begin cooking after veggies have been in oven for about 25-30 minutes. Have every ingredient prepared and organized by cooking order to help the process go smoothly. Heat up veggie stock in medium saucepan to ladle into risotto as needed. Heat oil on medium heat. Add onions, salt, and pepper, and cook until translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and thyme, cook 1 minutes. Add rice, salt, and pepper, and stir to coat, stir constantly for about 2 minutes. Add beer while stirring and cook until dissolved, stirring with care. When liquid is almost absorbed, add 3/4 cup of stock at a time, stirring constantly, until liquid is mostly absorbed. After about 15 minutes, start tasting and only add 1/2 cup of stock at a time. Cook until al dente and season to taste. Garnish with scallions.