Carrots in curried yogurt sauce

Just got back from a trip to Italy, visiting a good friend there and generally vegging out after a long, tough haul of a winter.  The day we left, it was snowing out in New York.  Stepped off the plane in Venice to 70 degree weather and clear skies. Made a b-line for my standby restaurant in the Santa Croce neighborhood,  La Zucca. It’s the kind of restaurant you won’t hear much about unless you’re a vegetarian, looking for some options, of which there may be few in any Italian city. While La Zucca offers meat dishes (some of which are outstanding), the menu is set up so that ‘contorno’ (the obligatory veggie dishes, usually an afterthought to an Italian meal) are front and center. Most of them are unbelievably good. I’ve learned a lot just from glancing at the menu, seeing such items described as  fennel braised in tomato caper sauce, asparagus gratinata, pumpkin flan with ricotta salata and toasted pepitas. The list goes on and on. This was among the most surprising dishes I tasted this time around. Sweet, fragrant, perfectly tender and totally not what you’d imagine eating in an Italian restaurant. But I guess it makes sense to eat something seasoned with curry in Venice, a city that was once famous for its confluence of cultures, spices and eclectic culinary influences. This is really so simple and a resourceful way to use up left over carrots in the bottom of the bin when you do a little spring cleaning of the fridge. Serve as a side dish, or a cold salad. Would make a great picnic addition as well.

Carrots in curried yogurt sauce

Ingredients

  • 5-6 carrots, peeled and sliced into coins
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander powder
  • a pinch of cumin
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • salt and pepper
Combine all the spices. Toss half of the mixture with the carrots and drizzle of oil (light olive or canola). Combine with honey and make sure the carrots are well coated. Put in a roasting pan and cover with tin foil. Bake at 350 for about 20-25 minutes.
Mix the rest of the spices with the yogurt and put aside. When the carrots come out of the oven, transfer to a serving bowl and toss with the yogurt mixture (like adding a salad dressing). Parsley makes a nice optional garnish if you have it. Serve at any temperature.
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