Watching a movie without knowing what it actually is about, is always a bit of a risk but loads of people told me they had heard great things about ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ (based upon the novel by John Green) so I decided to give it a go. I ended up watching it twice in the same week and I probably could’ve watched it a third time to be honest with you, cause I am so in love with this movie! It went straight into my top 5 romantic sob movies I could watch over and over again. What made the movie even more perfect, is that there was one particular scene in which they go out for dinner and enjoy a lovely risotto meal, which gave me the perfect excuse to write about the movie on my blog. It wasn’t easy though, to come up with a great risotto recipe, cause it’s really hard to see what exactly was in the risotto in the movie. All I knew for sure is that it had dragon carrots in it and something green, and that was about it. So I thought long and hard about what other ingredients I could use to create a great dragon carrot risotto. I hope this recipe will make you just as enthusiastic as Augustus was when he tasted the risotto in the movie!
The Fault in Our Stars
Hazel Grace Lancaster, played by Shailene Woodley, has terminal thyroid cancer that has spread to her lungs. Her mom believes she is depressed and urges her to attend a cancer patients’ support group to make some friends. During the group’s meeting, she meets Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort), who is mainly there to support his best friend Isaac, who will soon be completely blind. Augustus however has battled with bone cancer and has lost one of his legs so he absolutely understands what Hazel is going through. Hazel and Augustus bond right away and decide to both read each other’s favorite novel. Hazel’s favorite is ‘An Imperial Affliction’, a novel about a cancer-stricken girl named Anna that parallels Hazel’s experience. After finishing the book, Augustus calls up Hazel to let her know his frustration with the novel’s abrupt ending. Hazel explains that the novel’s author, Peter van Houten, moved to Amsterdam following the novel’s publication, and has not been heard from since. They embark on a journey to track down Peter and get some answers to what happens after the book.
Although a lot of the movie focusses on cancer and illness and often has very saddening scenes, Hazel and Augustus are also very witty, wise and brave. Their connection and journey will make you giggle at times but will leave you sobbing and reaching for tissues as well. The Fault in Our Stars is absolutely filled with beautiful scenes and amazing quotes that will make you (at the very least) teary. Especially the ending! My god, be prepared for some serious sobbing at the end! I wish I could share the last quote of the film with you, but that would totally spoil it all so you’ll just have to go and watch the movie and find it out for yourself!
Dragon carrot risotto
“I want this dragon carrot risotto to become a person so I can take it to Las Vegas and marry it. – Augustus Waters”
Serves: 5 people (as a main course)
- 500g risotto rice
- 10 dragon carrots
- 90g parmesan cheese
- 10 sprigs of flat leaf parsley
- 50g watercress
- 3 teaspoons of thyme
- 3 shallots
- 2 small cloves of garlic
- 1,25l hot water with 3,5 cubes of vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 1 glass of dry white wine
Optional: If you don’t feel like eating vegetarian risotto, you can add some chicken, cut up in small cubes, and let them cook along with the risotto rice.
Dragon carrots (purple winter carrots) are not a very common ingredient but they are available in this season as they are winter carrots. I was lucky enough that they sold them in the supermarket as part of a whole rainbow carrot mix, but if you can’t find them there, try to find a local farmer or farmers market where they might sell them. If you really can’t find them anywhere, you should obviously just go with plain carrots, but there is a difference in flavor so it will taste slightly less amazing.
There’s not a lot of preparation required and the cooking time is really short as well so you only need to start making this about 20 minutes before serving. Chop the onions into small pieces and peel the garlic cloves. Add the stock cubes to some hot water and try to break the cube apart as much as possible. Peel the carrots but try not to remove too much of the outer layer of the carrot as the purple part is mostly on the outside (they are orange on the inside) and it would be a shame if you peeled too much away so try to peel them as thinly as possible.
Boil some water in a pot for the carrots. We’ll be boiling them as a whole and then chop them in slices and add them to the risotto. If you are using plain carrots, you can skip this step and cut the carrots before and simply add them to your stew pot along with the onions. The reason I’m cooking them separately now, is because I didn’t want the purple color of the carrots to give the risotto a purple color as well, as it wouldn’t look very tasty. Once the water boils, add the carrots and let them boil until they become soft on the inside.
While the water is boiling for the carrots, heat up some olive oil in a stew pot and add the onions and chopped garlic. Once they start to fry, turn up the heat and add the risotto rice for about 1,5 minutes , until the grains become glazed. Gradually add small amounts of the wine while stirring gently, almost constantly. Stirring loosens the starch molecules from the outside of the rice grains into the surrounding liquid, creating a smooth creamy-textured liquid. Once the wine has cooked into the rice, add part of the broth and turn the heat down so it simmers. Keep adding more water and make sure to stir it while doing so. Keep doing this for about 15 minutes, have a taste to see if the texture is good enough, if not, add just a little bit more water and keep stirring until it has evaporated again. You want the rice to be done but with a slight bite to it still.
Once the rice is done, add butter and stir it into the risotto to make it even creamier. Now add the parmesan cheese and stir it into the risotto as well. Next up is adding the sliced carrots , the teaspoons of thyme and the parsley and cress. There’s no need to chop the parsley or the cress, you can just add them like that.And that’s about it!
Best served with some Dom Pérignon, just like in the movie, cause as the waiter put it: “Do you know what Dom Perignon said after inventing champagne? He called out to his fellow monks, ‘Come quickly: I am tasting the stars.”