I pulled the original recipe out of Fine Cooking 102, Dec 2009/Jan 2010.

I think I first tried a parsnip last year.  I made a chicken pot pie with it, carefully concealing it as a humble potato.*

Who am I kidding?  It’s not like parsnips are exotic.  Unless you’ve never had one.  And then you’re staring at it like it’s a carrot that’s been attacked by Bunnicula.  AUUUUUUGGGGHHH!  Where did all the carrot juice go?!?

Parsnips, the albino carrot.  Elric carrots.

But I got all romantic over that parsnip in the chicken pot pie.  The creaminess!  The sweetness!  The not-quite-babyfood mushiness!  I realize I’m not winning any converts here, but why should I hide the truth?

Per the Fine Cooking instructions, I peeled the parsnip and then cored it, that is, cut out most of the core, because, hypothetically, it’s too woody to eat.  (You do this by cutting the parsnip in quarters, then running a paring knife down the tan line between the core and the whatever else parship is, the flesh.)  However, in retrospect, the core wasn’t all that woody and I could have left it well enough alone AND THEN I WOULD HAVE HAD MORE PARSNIP!


This turned out great.  I was having a right shit of a day, and this was the A#1 comfort food that I could have come up with.  Perfect.

Also, I made it with sushi rice, because a have about five pounds of the stuff. I eat a lot of it in the springtime with a mock-crab sushi bowl, which isn’t as good in the winter. Too cold. So! Instead of spending money on arborio, head over to your local asian market and get some sushi rice; it’s probably cheaper.

My version, now that I check the magazine, has 1/4 cup less oil. Take that, Bainbridge scholars!

Parsnip Risotto

1 large parsnip, peeled, cored (if you think it necessary), and diced into 1/4-inch chunks (2 would have been better, right?)
A few slices of some kind of pork product (prosciutto, ham, bacon, pancetta), diced
A few sprigs of fresh sage, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, diced small
2 c arborio (or sushi!) rice
6 c chicken broth
Parmesan or other hard cheese
Salt and freshly-ground pepper

Heat the broth to a simmer while covered. Heat a small pot of salted water to a boil and add the parsnips. Boil until the parsnips are tender but not mashed-potato mushy. Drain and put on a paper towel to dry.

Saute ham until crisp. If necessary, add butter, then saute the garlic, sage, and parsnips until the parsnips are a little brown. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In another pan, saute the onion in a couple of tablespoons of butter until translucent, then add the rice. Add 1/2 c of hot chicken broth at a time to the rice. Stir and cook until the liquid is almost absorbed, then add more. If your rice is aging (that is, drying out), you may need more fluid. As it looks like you’re getting to the end of your broth supply, add more broth or water to the pan heating up the broth. Don’t add cold broth or water directly to your risotto, I haven’t figured out why yet, but it isn’t good and leads to al dente risotto, which is the opposite of what you want. Anyway, continue adding broth and stirring until the rice is as mushy as the rice in rice pudding. Don’t stop before then; it’ll only lead to heartache.

It took me 25 minutes to soften up that rice, and about another two cups of hot water. But it’s over a year old, and I live at a high elevation, which affects things.

When your rice is sufficiently mushy, add the parsnip mix and as much grated Parmesan as you can get away with. So much for one-upping the Fine Cooking recipe.

*From my family or from myself? Who knows?