Mar 31, 2014

Celery root risotto

There was this big old celery root in my fridge..the last thing that had to go before the shopping day. And I was desperate to make something that I would want to eat. Often, that's the part of cooking that takes most of my concentration and energy. The good news is there are things like risottos that still surprise me. And celery...that surprises me too.

Recipe by Gray Apron
time: 40 min

for celery puree (adapted from Giallo Zafferano)
1 large celery root (500g/1lb)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/8 teaspoon dry thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
for risotto
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup (120 ml) dry white wine (I used sparkling)
1 1/2 cup (320 g) rice
4 cups (1 l) boiling water with 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 oz (28 g) Parmesan, grated
1 oz (28 g) butter, diced
zest from 1/2 medium lemon, grated

prepare puree:
Peel and cut celery in 2-3 mm (1/8 inch) thick pieces, finger-wide. In a small pot, bring 2 -3 cups water to boil. Drop in celery pieces and boil for 3 minutes. Drain (save 1 cup of cooking water).

Meanwhile, on a medium/large skillet, heat oil on medium/high. Add celery pieces, add 1 cup of saved water, saltthyme and and cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, till almost all water is gone (and the celery is not dry). Add pepper at the end.

In a food processor with steal blades, blend celery till smooth, for 10 - 20 seconds.

prepare risotto:
In a medium pot, heat oil on medium/high. Add onions and sauté for about 8-10 minutes (not allowing any color change). Add rice and wine, sauté till wine has evaporated (2-3 minutes). Pour in 1/2 cup boiling water. Stir till liquid is absorbed...add another 1/2 cup water and repeat the process till you used all the water, stirring rice almost constantly to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan. This should last about 25 minutes. 5 minutes before the end, add celery puree, lemon zest and more water if risotto got too dry.

Check if rice is cooked. Take it off the heat, incorporate cheese and butter. Adjust seasoning and serve. If you plan to serve risotto later, wait and add cheese and butter when you are ready.

  • the puree had a texture of a cloud, surprisingly good just straight from the blander;
  • it could make for a nice side dish; the Italian recipe had cream and cheese in the puree, but the taste of celery root was rich and interesting enough to leave the extras off;
  • I went downstairs to a near-by store to get fresh parsley...I decided against it after all;
  • lemon zest gave the celery root the necessary kick without changing the flavor; Parmesan did the rest;
  • Hania that doesn't care about celery root (she calls it "pineapple" when I roast it) asked for more risotto and cleaned up the pot;
  • about rice: here I used arborio (the one you are supposed to use for risotto), but I've done it before with basmanti and brown rice and it worked too.


  1. this sounds and looks delicious! I love the use of lemon zest and how it zings up a dish :)

  2. Scrumptious! I am a big fan of that versatile and delicious root.



  3. A huge fan of root veggies. Your risotto looks delish, Ela.

  4. That's a super idea! I've done it with fennel, but never celery root. Bet is tasted wonderful!

  5. What a delicious puree to incorporate into risotto! I'm a huge fan of celery root!

  6. There's nothing better than using up the last of a vegetable - especially when the outcome is something this delicious!

  7. Love celery root but sometimes I am at a loss of new recipe ideas. It sounds wonderful in this risotto. Thanks for the inspiration.

  8. I love veggie risotto and definitely need to give this one a try!

  9. A lovely risotto, Ela... is what you call celery root we what call celeriac?

    1. Yeap, that's what it is. I didn't know about any other celery parts till I was about 20 and saw celery stalks for the first time in the US. :)

  10. My son and I love risotto and I make it quite often during the week. I always welcome new and tasty ways of making it such this one!

  11. What a great idea! I hate to waste and it's awesome when you can use ingredients up while making something delicious.

  12. I just adore risotto, never have used celery root before but after seeing this recipe I look forward to it. Tomorrow is my farmers market day, will be making for sure.

  13. Look at you!! So crafty using up your leftovers in a unique way! Looks delicious and nutritious!! YUM!

  14. This risotto sounds great. I love that it has a touch of lemon to brighten it up

  15. Oh wow this looks absolutely delicious - I don't use celery root enough! And I love that you used lemon zest - so bright and fresh!

  16. looks great, I have yet to experiment with celery root

  17. I've yet to make anything with celery root and still haven't made risotto! Can you believe it?! I can kill 2 birds with one stone with this recipe! Sweet :)

  18. Love celery root; rare here and expensive! I like roosting it with other veggies.