Parsnips are a great winter vegetable – their flavour improves and they become sweeter following frosts, so they’re at their best right now, in mid to late winter. This parsnip risotto recipe is from our recent Italian Christmas course, but isn’t just for Christmas – it’s fantastic right through the winter months. If you buy locally grown vegetables then it’s local, seasonal, and if you have a roast chicken on a Sunday and make a stock with the carcass, it’s a great way to utilise that. Give it a go and let us know what you think!
Parmesan cheese, for grating
2 pints stock (chicken, fish, or vegetable, as appropriate)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tbsp of butter
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
½ a head of celery, trimmed and finely chopped
2 cups risotto/Arborio rice
1 glass of white wine or vermouth
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp crème fraîche
Pangrattato to serve
Truffle oil to serve
Peel and cut the woody bit from the parsnips (keep the peels) then dice into cubes
Gently fry the parsnips with finely chopped garlic and butter, then add the stock and simmer until parsnip is soft. Then blitz with a hand blender. This will become your risotto stock.
Preheat your oven to 180.
Heat the stock. Put the olive oil and butter into a separate pan, add the onion, and celery, and cook very slowly for about 15 minutes without colouring. This is called a ‘soffrito’.
Meanwhile, put your parsnip peels in a bowl and toss with some olive oil then roast in the oven until they crisp up – around 20-25 minutes.
When the vegetables in your pan have softened, add the rice and turn up the heat.
The rice will now begin to slightly fry, so keep stirring it. After a minute it will look slightly translucent. Add the wine and keep stirring.
Once the vermouth or wine has cooked into the rice, add your first ladle of hot stock and a good pinch of salt. Turn the heat down to a simmer so the rice doesn’t cook too quickly on the outside. Keep adding stock a ladle at a time, stirring and massaging the creamy starch out of the rice, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. This will take around 15 minutes.
Taste the rice to check if it’s cooked. If not, carry on adding stock until the rice is soft but with a slight bite. Don’t forget to check the seasoning carefully.
Remove from the heat and add the cream and Parmesan. Stir well.
Drizzle over truffle oil and sprinkle with pangrattato (recipe here), then arrange some of your parsnip peel crisps on top and dig in!
Photos by Eaton Photography