With Valentine’s day quickly approaching, I want to share a delicious, decadent recipe that is perfect for special occasions! We’re making a Parmesan risotto with caramelized balsamic vegetables and it is seriously swoon-worthy. Whether you are spending V-day with your girlfriends, your family or your significant other, this risotto is the perfect meal. Pair it with a nice glass of wine, some candles, and good company and you’re set!
A lot of people are intimidated by risotto because it seems super fancy and has a bit of a bad reputation (in terms of the actual cooking part). Risotto definitely takes a good 30 minutes of TLC and requires your full attention but it is not hard to make by any means! I promise – you can do this!
We’ve been eating a ton of delicious oven-roasted red onions + carrots lately, so that’s what I chose for this specific recipe but the sky is seriously the limit. I have a delicious recipe for a butternut squash risotto on my site but I also love doing a mushroom + thyme version and a roasted cherry tomato + corn version.
What I love about the veggies that get added to this risotto is that they get SO caramelized and delicious you won’t even believe it. The trick is roasting them in the oven at a high temperature (425 degrees F) and flipping them in the middle of the cooking process. The balsamic drizzle really takes the crispy, caramelized veggies over the top and you will seriously die at the depth of flavor. Another key to this recipe is the whipped cream. I know it might sound crazy, but it is definitely necessary! I got the idea from Thomas Keller who calls for it in his risotto recipe and let me tell you – the man is a genius! It really adds another level of richness to the dish and it’s absolutely worth the extra calories!
As a recap: if you’re just starting to date someone or if you just want to make an unforgettable meal on Valentine’s Day, MAKE THIS RISOTTO. Your loved ones will seriously think you’re Martha Stewart and they will legitimately worship the ground you walk on. I hope you enjoy this recipe and happy early Valentine’s Day!
- 1 large red onion, cut into wedges
- 2-3 large carrots, cut into 2-inch spears
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 5 cups chicken or veggie stock
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small shallot, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup arborio rice
- ⅓ cup white wine or a dry rosé (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
- ⅓ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Balsamic reduction, for drizzling (you can get this at Trader Joe's)
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Place the onion wedges and carrot pieces on a sheet pan and toss with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for 20-25 minutes until caramelized, turning once with a spatula halfway through the cooking process.
- In a small bowl, whip the cream until it forms firm peaks and is the consistency of whipped cream. Cover and refrigerate.
- Pour the chicken stock in a pot and bring to a simmer, then lower the heat to the lowest setting. Make sure to keep the heat on - you want the stock to stay warm during the cooking process.
- In a large heavy-bottom pan or dutch oven, heat the butter and the olive oil over medium-low heat until butter is melted. Add the shallot and garlic and cook until soft, making sure they don't brown.
- Add the arborio rice and cook for about 3 minutes with the garlic and shallot mixture.
- Pour in the wine and stir until the rice has fully absorbed the wine.
- Ladle enough of the hot chicken stock into the risotto mixture to barely cover it and stir constantly until the rice has fully absorbed the liquid.
- Repeat this process until all of the chicken stock has been used and the rice is cooked but is slightly al dente. Make sure to constantly stir the risotto. This will take about 30 minutes.
- Add the grated parmesan and stir.
- Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper and finally, vigorously stir in the reserved whipped cream until completely combined.
- Serve the risotto immediately and top with the caramelized vegetables + a drizzle of the thick balsamic reduction. Serve immediately and enjoy.