Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Carrots with Pine Nuts--Italian Way

There is a carrot dish probably in every culinary tradition. There is also one in Polish cuisine. We cut carrots in cubes, cook in a little bit of water, and thicken with butter and flour at the end. I love carrots prepared that way, especially with typical Polish dishes, for instance meatballs or chicken and potato puree. And I eat it always like that when I go back home. My mother makes it from very sweet and young carrots that she buys at the farmers' market and serves them always with meats.

But somehow I do not prepare carrot this way anymore at my home here. Most often I make Thai style carrots with roasted almonds or recently even more often I make carrots with pine nuts, a dish that comes from the Italian tradition. Carrots prepared this way are a bit drier, rather sautéd than cooked to a very soft stage and that is what I like a lot about this dish. I enjoy vegetables more when they are cooked al dente rather than completely soft or mushy as we often do it in Poland.

I remember my Italian friend cooking carrots in a very similar way, almost without water, but she did not add pine nuts. I also like to add chopped sage, which makes the mild carrots almost spicy. They taste great just with roasted baby potatoes or as a meat accompaniment.

Carrots with Pine Nuts

1 lb of carrots,
1 medium onion, chopped,
2 tbsp pine nuts,
2 tbsp olive oil,
1 tsp brown sugar,
4 tbsp Marsala or any red wine,
salt and freshly ground black pepper,
1 tbsp chopped sage(optional)

1. Peel off the carrots and cut them into slices.

2. Heat the oil in a medium pan and add onion. Fry for about 3 minutes. Add carrots and sprinkle with sugar. Let the vegetables caramelize a bit.
3. Add about half a cup of water, salt and pepper, and let it all cook on a medium heat until most of the water evaporates.
4. Add red wine and let it cook again for about 3 minutes. Turn off the heat, add pine nuts and chopped sage if used. Serve warm.