I’ve never been a big fan of cauliflower until recently. I thought cauliflower was like a poor cousin of broccoli because it lacked colour and flavour. However, to my delight, I discovered that cauliflower can be super yum. It’s very versatile and because of its mild flavour, plays a great companion role to many star dishes. It’s the side-kick that is well-loved and adored. Aww…
It’s growing in popularity for the paleo, vegos, vegan and carb-haters of the world. I’ve seen recipes the likes of ‘cauliflower rice’ (which I’m actually intrigued by, to be honest). I’ll try it out and see if it’s worth it’s grain of salt (or a grated floret for that matter). Some people get very creative with their veggies. I like it!
Just to spite the carb-haters of the world (no, not really) I decided to combine the goodness of Mr Versatile Cauliflower in the creamy goodness of a carbolicious risotto. Definitely no rice-replacement here!
Turns out, cooking cauliflower two-ways in this recipe means you get the caramelised, cheesy bits in the roasted parts, and the soft, flavour-soaked bits in those cooked with the risotto. Bam! Texture and flavour all rolled into one bubbling pan of arborio.
ROASTED CHEESY CAULIFLOWER RISOTTO
Adapted from Food Network Kitchen
1 head cauliflower, florets cut into 1/2-inch pieces, stems chopped
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups short-grain Italian rice (such as arborio)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 – 4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup of grated parmesan cheese, or similar
small handful of chopped parsley
Preheat to 200 degrees C (400 F). Toss the cauliflower florets with 1 tablespoon olive oil on a baking sheet. Spread in a single layer and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes, sprinkle 1/4 of the cheese over the cauliflower and continue roasting for another 5 minutes or until cauliflower is tender and cheese is golden.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a pot over high heat. Add the onion and cauliflower stems and cook, stirring, until the onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and garlic and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes. Continue ladling stock into rice and stirring until the rice is tender (with a bit of toothiness but not too al dente), about 20 minutes. Once done, remove from heat and add the butter and remaining cheese. Stir until the risotto is creamy. Taste and season if necessary.
Top with roasted cauliflower, parsley and extra cheese (optional) and serve.