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Snapshots from Italy: Carrots in Marsala

Snapshots from Italy: Carrots in Marsala

The cluttered and dusty used bookstore on my block has become one of my favorite haunts, mostly for a sometimes campy and ever-revolving selection of old cookbooks. The Myra Breckenridge Cookbook displayed in the window last week made me laugh right out loud, but inside I found an even greater treasure—an old copy of Elizabeth David's Italian Food. It is impossible not to be inspired by David's evocative and vivid writing style, and thumbing through the dog-eared volume while imagining her travels through Italy in the early 1950s has become my new afternoon ritual.

The pages recently fell open to reveal her recipe for Carrots in Marsala; it instantly seemed so mouthwatering I had no choice but to head straight for the market.

With an abundance of spring vegetables appearing on the scene, it's easy to overlook carrots, especially when all you can find are the super-sized, woody specimens trapped in plastic bags in the grocery store. But young, tender, carrots are a springtime treat, and this simple preparation enhances their luscious savory-sweetness perfectly.

Carrots in Marsala

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I adapted the recipe only in terms of quantity, and you can easily adjust it upward or downward. I began with about one pound of young carrots, peeled and cut on the diagonal. Melt 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a deep sauté pan and add the carrots, briefly sautéing over medium heat to coat them evenly with the butter. Add 1/2 cup dry Marsala to the pan, and allow it to bubble up, then add enough water to almost cover the carrots. Sprinkle over about 1 teaspoon granulated sugar and a pinch of salt. Bring the liquid to a gentle simmer, cover the pan, and cook the carrots until they are just fork-tender. Remove the cover, and turn up the heat. Continue to cook the carrots, shaking the pan occasionally until the liquid has evaporated and the carrots are nicely glazed. Toss them with a bit of chopped Italian parsley, and serve immediately. Try to resist eating the entire quantity in one sitting.

About the author: Gina DePalma is the pastry chef at Mario Batali's Babbo restaurant in New York City and the author of Dolce Italiano: Desserts from the Babbo Kitchen. She is currently in Rome doing research for her next book and further exploring her passions for Italian food.

Snapshots from Italy: Carrots in Marsala

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About This Recipe

Yield:2-4 servings
This recipe appears in: This Week's Tasty 10

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. young carrots
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt

Procedures

  1. 1

    I adapted the recipe only in terms of quantity, and you can easily adjust it upward or downward. I began with about one pound of young carrots, peeled and cut on the diagonal. Melt 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a deep sauté pan and add the carrots, briefly sautéing over medium heat to coat them evenly with the butter.

  2. 2

    Add 1/2 cup dry Marsala to the pan, and allow it to bubble up, then add enough water to almost cover the carrots. Sprinkle over about 1 teaspoon granulated sugar and a pinch of salt. Bring the liquid to a gentle simmer, cover the pan, and cook the carrots until they are just fork-tender. Remove the cover, and turn up the heat. Continue to cook the carrots, shaking the pan occasionally until the liquid has evaporated and the carrots are nicely glazed.

  3. 3

    Toss them with a bit of chopped Italian parsley, and serve immediately. Try to resist eating the entire quantity in one sitting.

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