Over Christmas I went to the Limmud Conference. The last time I was there was three years ago when I gave a lecture on the Jews of Italy while cooking a pumpkin risotto, and more importantly I met my husband to be, who came to my lecture, introduced himself afterwards and charmed me - as they say the rest is history. So this year we went back together and found it, as always, very interesting. I gave another couple of lectures, one on the Jews of Rome and one on the Jews of Venice, but this time there was no cooking involved, so I just talked about food, its history and mentioned a number of recipes. Noteworthy is this carrot recipe from the ghetto in Venice, called in Venetian dialect carote sofegae, which is sweet and sour carrots with pine nuts and raisins. This is my version of it. Several people asked for the exact recipe, I promised them that I would publish it in the JC, so here it is. It is an old favourite of mine, and definitely one of my signature dishes. Although it may sound similar to other Ashkenazi or Sephardic carrot recipes you may know, this is somewhat different. It is easy to make and the key is to let the carrots golden thoroughly.
Preparation time: 45 minutes
Serves 4-6 as a side dish
● 7-8 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
● 1 finely sliced onion
● 1 kg carrots
● A handful of raisins
● A handful of pine nut kernels
● 3-4 tablespoons of white wine or cider vinegar
● Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
● Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan and add the onion.
● Cook for a few minutes and adding a few tablespoons of warm water to help soften the onions.
● Once the water has evaporated add some salt and pepper and let the onion golden slightly.
● Meanwhile, peel, rinse and slice the carrots into thin rounds. Place the slices in a bowl of cold water and drain – but do not dry them.
● Add the carrots to the pan with the onion and stir thoroughly.
● Add more salt and pepper, reduce the flame and cover with a lid.
● Leave to cook covered for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the carrots soften.
● Remove the lid, increase the heat to medium and continue to cook for a further 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
● When the carrots start to turn golden, add the raisins and the pine nuts and leave them to cook for another 10 minutes.
● Tip: soak the raisins in a little water for a couple of minutes before adding them to the carrots so that they are soft and juicy.
● Once cooked, add the splash of vinegar and leave it to evaporate on a high flame for another couple of minutes.
● Serve warm or at room temperature.