I started with the carrots because they needed 30 minutes to marinate. The glaze is made of freshly grated ginger, brown sugar, lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. The ginger and cling lightly to the carrots, but don’t create an overwhelming flavor after the carrots are grilled.
I marinated the boneless, skinless chicken breasts in olive oil, a splash of white wine vinegar, salt, pepper and a few shakes of dried basil.
For the risotto, I used chopped fennel, onions, and also added shallots.
Arborio rice is the way to go for risotto.
This is the start of the risotto. The onions, fennel and shallots were sweated for about 15 minutes. After taking the vegetables out of the pan, I added more olive oil and tossed the arborio in it, and then added the vegetables back in.
Here’s one of the first cycles of adding stock to the risotto. I used vegetable stock simmered with fennel scraps and chopped basil, as the recipe recommended. This really gives the risotto a fantastic flavor.
I was really pleased with the way the risotto came out: very smooth and rich. I even skipped adding the butter the recipe calls for because it already had a very silky texture. Instead of pecorino and parmesan, I used finely grated Manchego cheese. Its nutty flavor worked well in the recipe. The peas add a nice fresh pop in this very creamy-textured dish.
The carrots took a little longer than expected — just as long as the chicken — to get done, around 12 minutes. They were still al dente even them, but with a nice caramelized ginger finish.
Between the ginger carrots and the fennel risotto, there were plenty of flavors going on in this meal already, so I thought the chicken should be seasoned flavored simply. The EVOO and white wine vinegar marinade left the chicken tender and juicy, and the basil went along with the basil flavoring the risotto.
We enjoyed the meal with, and I cooked the risotto with, this 2007 La Forge Estate Sauvignon Blanc from France.