Carrots + Mascarpone

I’ve been reminiscing lately – my anniversary is coming up.  This past Christmas, my beau took me to Hen-of-the-Woods for a special dinner.  The entire meal was outstanding but we especially loved the roasted carrots over ricotta that I had as an appetizer. The dish is technically a rather simple one so I was hoping for a tasty salad from local produce but I knew it was extra special once my love couldn’t stop reaching across the table to ‘grab just one more bite’.

To make this dish, I started at the beginning of this dish: the carrots.  To roast them, I took some inspiration from Real Girl’s Kitchen with her roasted carrot and lemon herb farro.  I coated the carrots in olive oil, a drizzle of honey, then added a pinch of salt, pepper, paprika, and cardamom.  The ricotta, on the other hand, was both more and less challenging.  Hen-of-the-Woods served freshly-made cheese, either done in-house or by a local farm.  If these are options for you, great.  Otherwise, use your favorite soft cheese as a base for this dish.  I’m using my carrots as dippers in mascarpone for dinner with my beau tonight!

In the restaurant, the carrots were served cold over the ricotta, making this a great dish to host with.  I’ll most likely end up using as the salad course of a fancy meal with friends over (or hosting a fancy brunch and using it instead of a parfait) since prep can begin the day before and plating can be done before guests arrive.  The carrots don’t get soggy like granola does!

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