Carrots (Baked, Au Gratin, Carote gratinate)

I love it when fans get excited about simple dishes. I am not sure why we don't eat more carrots.    My carrots created quite a stir the other evening both online and on the table.  The key to great carrots is there overall freshness.   Be sure and look for carrots with their green stems attached.  Spend the time to cut and clean them yourself.  They are so worth it.  Try to cut them down in even pieces. Their natural sweetness depends on freshness, so never mind the bagged variety.   If that's all you can find, you may have to give them a longer boil first.   Do yourself a favor and forget them if you can.   The stemmed kind are also a little cheaper both at farmers market and in the grocery.  Look for bright green stems and a firm carrot.

Recipe:  3 pounds fresh carrots cleaned and cut into pieces.
One large pot filled with enough water to cover the carrot pieces.
One whole yellow or white onion diced.
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup of cream
2 teaspoons of salt
one pinch of fresh nutmeg
pinch of sugar (optional)
one teaspoon of pepper
one bunch of fresh sage (you can remove it before serving)
one bunch of fresh rosemary (you can remove it before serving)
1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese plus more to taste.
Special Note:  Add some additional fresh herbs and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese before serving. 

Method:  Heat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Cover the cleaned carrots with water and bring to a boil. Add a pinch of sugar.  Boil for about 10 minutes.   If you are using the bagged variety, you may have to boil them 5 minutes longer.  Drain them and set them aside.   In a large, oven proof skillet,  deep enough to accommodate the ingredients, heat the butter until melted.  Add the onion and one teaspoon of salt.    Saute slowly until the onions are translucent and fragrant.   Add your carrots and toss until well coated.  In the meantime.  Heat your cream.   Slowly pour the heated cream (just under a boil), over your carrots.    Add your herbs, the salt, pepper, nutmeg  and turn the heat to low.   After about 5 minutes, turn your heat off.  Cover with Parmigiano Cheese and cover tightly with foil.
Cook, covered for 45 minutes. Remove the cover and low broil for a few minutes until golden. Remove from the oven and serve with fresh Parmigiano Reggiano and some additional fresh herbs for presentation.
  Buon Appetito!

Special Note:  Adding sugar is an option.  It is not necessary if the carrots are very fresh.


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