Braden Family Cookbook

Chuck Braden

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2 cups spinach leaves
2 cups sweet basil leaves
2/3 cup canola oil
4 cups vegetarian risotto
3/4 cup Reggiano cheese or other Parmesan or hard cheeses will work
2 cups spinach chiffonade
Juice of ½ lemon
Salt and black pepper to taste
Chive batons for garnish

In a pot of very salty boiling water, blanch the spinach and basil for about 45 seconds. Immediately shock in an ice bath and squeeze out excess water. In a blender, blend at high speed while adding the oil. Season the puree. Take vegetarian risotto and place in large bowl. Make sure risotto is not too hot before adding puree. Fold in ½ of the green puree and ½ of the cheese. If risotto is not green, add more puree. Check for seasoning and add more cheese if necessary. Spread risotto into a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Risotto should be at least 2 inches high. Place a sheet of parchment paper on top and chill for at least 4 hours to overnight. Cut 2 ½‑inch circles of risotto and pan sear in a non‑stick pan coated lightly with oil. Color both sides well. Toss spinach chiffonade with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Place a small mound in the middle of a plate and top with risotto cake. Drizzle carrot syrup and garnish with chive batons. 


32 ounces fresh carrot juice
2 pieces star anise
1 cup canola oil
Salt and white pepper to taste 

In a stainless steel casserole, reduce carrot juice with star anise until all of the water is evaporated. There will be a carrot “scum” left. Remove the star anise and scrape the "scum" to a blender. Blend at high speed while slowly adding oil to emulsify. Check for seasoning. Store at room temperature. 

Yield: 4 servings