I have to admit, I recently developed a soft spot for, yes, here it is…parsnips! Subtly sweet and a touch earthy, I would have never imagined that I would ever touch a parsnip. My early recollections of them are, well, just that one time a year, when they were roasted in the oven along with our Christmas turkey. And come to think of it, I don’t think anyone ever actually even ate them. Maybe they were just there, along with the onions and carrots, to transform the gravy into something magical.
Well, I finally decided it was best not to flee from parsnips. They have been popping up what seems like EVERYWHERE this last month, so seemingly they are gaining popularity (or they were simply in my blind spot all these years) — but someone is definitely eating them here in Germany. And guess what? They are actually pretty delicious.
Getting exited about warming winter foods is easy, but I was looking for a little satisfaction in something other than just another piping hot bowl of soup (or bowl of pasta, for that matter!). Hearty and bursting with warming flavors, risotto does just the trick. And in this case, with apples and parsnips. Apples and parsnips were born to be together. With hints of rosemary and thyme, the aromatic flavors combine so well — does winter food get any better?
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
350 g parsnips (about 3), peeled and chopped into bite-size pieces
1 tart apple (Braeburn or Granny Smith), peeled, cored and chopped
1 cup risotto rice (200 g)
3/4 cup dry white wine (180 ml)
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth, heated (480 ml)
1 teaspoon freshly chopped rosemary ( about 1 Sprig)
1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme
1 tablespoon butter
4 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons (or more) toasted pine nuts, garnish
1. In a large saucepan or deep skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until softened, stirring often, about 5 minutes.
2. Stir in parsnips and cook until they begin to brown, stirring occasionally, about 8-10 minutes. Add rice and stir 2 minutes. Then add the apple and white wine and simmer for until slightly reduced, about 2-3 minutes.
3. Add enough warm broth to cover; simmer until almost all broth is absorbed, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. Add more broth, 1/2 cup at a time, and cook until rice and parsnips are tender, allowing each broth addition to be absorbed before adding next and stirring frequently, about 20 minutes total.
4. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 1 tablespoon butter, rosemary, thyme and cheese.
5. Season risotto with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer risotto to serving plates, garnish with pine nuts and serve immediately. Enjoy!