I have some lemon thyme growing in the garden, but unashamedly I actually used dried thyme in this risotto as I was not prepared to go back outside and get drenched again from the cold pouring rain. I think I’ve actually got a cold coming on. I’ve been sneezing all day.
I found the natural creaminess of the parsnips quite rich in this risotto, so no need for dairy cream or cheese. However D had other ideas. He pointed out that he had picked up log of goats cheese which was in the fridge and requested that I top his risotto with a slice. So for those of you who are inclined like him, you are most welcome to do so too, in which case for 4 people you would require 100g goats cheese. I was happy with my plate the way it was, garnished aplenty with the witchy finger parsnip crisps.
The recipe below makes a large quantity. I made the extra portions as I wanted to make some arancini with the remaining risotto. Arancini or arancine derived from the Italian word for Oranges are risotto balls coated in breadcrumbs, then deep fried. Sometimes they have mozzarella cheese inside, sometimes vegetables.
If the quantity of the risotto is too much for your needs, you are most welcome to half the recipe if serving 2 hungry people.
Parsnip and Thyme Risotto
For the oven baked parsnip crisps
1 – 2 tablespoon olive oil
For the parsnip risotto
400g parsnips, peeled and grated
4 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
4 shallots, finely sliced
400g risotto rice
2 ¾ pints vegetable stock, simmering
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: Goats cheese
For the parsnip crisps
Wash the parsnips and peel. Take potato peeler and shave thin layers of parsnip from root and place into a bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil and toss parsnip shavings, making sure that all surfaces are lightly covered with the oil. Place parsnip shavings onto a non-stick baking sheet in a single layer and put into a pre-heated oven. Bake for about 10 minutes, checking and turning every few minutes. When light brown and crispy, take out of oven and blot on kitchen paper. Bake in oven to gas mark 4 for 4 minutes, then flip the crisps over and bake for a further 4 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven, season with salt and set aside to cool.
For the risotto
Heat the oil in a deep heavy based pan. Add the shallots and sauté until softened. Add the rice and stir until well coated. Increase the heat, add the grated parsnip, thyme and stir well. Then stir in a large ladleful of hot stock. Cook over moderate heat, stirring every few minutes and adding more stock as it is absorbed. Season to taste. Continue adding stock (or boiling water if that runs out) until the grains of the rice taste creamy. Serve immediately topped with goats cheese if using and garnishing of parsnip crisps.