This past Friday, I went to see The Fault in our Stars. I thought I’d check out the movie and see if there was anything in the Amsterdam scenes I could cook.
The two main characters in the story are Augustus and Hazel. While in Amsterdam, they are treated a lovely dinner at Oranjee, a fictional restaurant. In the book and movie, the couple is served a risotto dish and Augustus declares “I want this dragon carrot risotto to become a person so I can take it to Las Vegas and marry it.”
So not only does this restaurant not exist, but after some research, a recipe for dragon carrot risotto doesn’t really seem to exist either. For the most part I followed The Pioneer Woman’s Risotto recipe. If my risotto was going to taste good enough to marry I figured The Pioneer Woman would have a worthy recipe.
I did have some difficulty finding the right carrots. I found some dragon carrot seeds I could order online, but I wanted to make this dish this week so that wasn’t going to work. Eventually my husband found some purple carrots, which seem to be close enough to dragon carrots. Fun carrot fact: Until the 17th century, most carrots were purple.
These carrots are downright gorgeous! After peeling the rough outer edges the purple practically shined.
I decided to use Gouda, a traditional Dutch cheese instead of Parmesan like the recipe called for.
I couldn’t stop marveling at the color of these carrots. However, I did end up with some stained fingertips. The purple hue did disappear after a few hand washes.
The smell of onions and garlic simmering in a pan is one of my favorite smells in the kitchen.
Whenever I’m cooking risotto I get really nervous that I’m doing it wrong. You really have to wait and keep stirring for the liquid to absorb. There are the few minutes where I think to myself “I think I messed this batch up.” It always works out though.
While I don’t think anyone is going to marry this risotto, or any other risotto, it was delicious! I loved the bits of purple in this dish. I will definitely be cooking this one again.
One of my favorite lines from the dinner scene in The Fault in Our Stars inspired our drink choice for this meal. The waiter ask if they know what Dom Pérignon said after inventing champagne. He then shares that he said “Come quickly: I am tasting the stars.” We happened to have a bottle of leftover sparkling apple cider from some holiday so we tasted some $2.49 stars along with our dragon carrot risotto.
While we may never be able to taste Oranjee’s dragon carrot risotto, one funny individual has taken the time to rate the restaurant on Yelp.com. If you are a fan of the book or the movie, it’s kind of a funny read.
Here is the adapted recipe I used. Enjoy!
1 cup Gouda cheese
2 cloves garlic
1/4 whole large onion
3 purple or dragon carrots
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon butter
1/2 pound Arborio Rice
4 cups chicken broth
3/4 cups heavy cream
1/2 tablespoon chopped chives
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Grate 1 cup of cheese.
2. Peel and dice 2 cloves of garlic or use a garlic mincer.
3. Dice 1/4 of a large onion.
4. Slice the purple or dragon carrots into small slivers.
5. Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat and add 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil. Then add ½ tablespoon of butter. Throw in the garlic and onion and sauté for a couple of minutes until the onion is translucent.
6. Add 1/2 pound of Arborio rice and stir to coat the rice thoroughly.
7. Adding the chicken broth 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly after each addition. As soon as it appears that the rice has absorbed each helping of broth, add in the next helping. Do not stop stirring. This process will take at least 20 minutes. Rice is done when it no longer has a hard bite.
8. When more of the broth is absorbed pour in ¾ cups of heavy cream.
9. Next add the grated cheese and stir thoroughly.
10. Toss in the carrots and mix around enough to cook.
11. Add in fresh cracked pepper and about half of the chopped chives.
12. Add salt to taste.
Cooking notes: I reduced this recipe down to four servings from the eight servings in the original recipe.