I went to the market earlier and picked up a gorgeous bunch of fresh carrots with an excess of feathery green tops as well as a can of coconut milk for no good reason except that it was on sale. When I got home, I came across the lone ghost pepper I'd bought last week. While cooking dinner for the boys, Inoodled on the carrots and coconut milk and it being Monday which I like to try and make meatless.
I washed and spun the carrot tops as well as the greens from a bunch of radishes I'd bought for Oliver.
And then it all coalesced into a coconut-carrot-ginger risotto with a bit of heat from the ghost pepper and a cool, colorful bit of zip from a fresh carrot top pesto.
Yield: Serves 2-4
- 2 tablespoons butter (unsalted or butter)
- 1 shallot, peeled and diced
- 2 cloves, divided, peeled and minced
- ½ carrot, peeled and diced
- 1¼ cups arborio rice
- ¼ cup white wine
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- white pepper
- ¾ teaspoon ground ginger
- two shakes cinnamon
- 1 shake cardamom
- 1 hot pepper (I used a ghost pepper)
- 1 can full fat coconut milk
- 2+ chicken or vegetable broth to make 3½ cups
- fill (but do not pack) your food processor bowl with cleaned carrot tops plus a few cleaned radish tops if you have them
- olive oil
- freshly squeezed lemon juice
In a 4-quart stock pot set over medium heat, melt your butter. When melted, add the diced shallot, 1 clove of minced garlic, and the diced carrot. Stir to combine and let start to cook.
Meanwhile, in a 2-quart pot, whisk or use a stick blender to combine the coconut milk, any coconut cream remaining in the can, and the broth. Set the pot over medium heat and keep warm.
When your shallot/garlic/carrot mixture is starting to wilt and become golden, add the rice, and stir to coat evenly with melted butter and veggies. Cook about two minutes, until toasty and becoming fragrant. Add the white wine to deglaze the pot. Add the salt, 5-6 grinds of white pepper, ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom. Stir to combine.
By the half cup, being to add the coconut milk-broth mixture to the rice. Stir consistently, adding another half cup of liquid when the former amount is nearly absorbed. Midway through, add your hot pepper (whole, unpeeled, unpierced). Let it float around until the risotto is all done.
If your food processor is nearby, make your pesto quickly in between stirs. You do NOT want to leave the risotto alone for any real amount of time, so if your processor is NOT nearby, wait until the risotto is done to make the pesto.
For the pesto, process the carrot tops (and radish greens if using) with olive oil, salt, remaining minced garlic clove, and lemon juice to taste. When smooth, set aside.
When your risotto is done, serve it warm with dollops of the carrot-top pesto on top.