Farm stand produce is such a beautiful inspiration this time of year. I found an amazing head of cauliflower that could have been an earthy pizza crust or doughy fritters, but I read this snippet in Food & Wine magazine recently about an epic Roasted Cauliflower Risotto. And so, it began…
1 head of cauliflower, broken in florets then scattered on a baking sheet, drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted at 400 for 15 minutes or until so fragrant and sweet that you can’t stand it any longer. Let the cauliflower cool a bit and then chop it into smallish pieces. Set the tray aside. You will add this to the rice in a little while.
2 cloves of garlic + 1 sweet white onion, minced and softened in a large skillet in about 1 Tbsp olive oil or veg stock; you’re looking for translucent, not browned, so low heat for about 10 minutes.
1 quart of great tasting vegetable stock – homemade or carton.
1 cup dry white wine or a crisp hard cider (optional, but adds lots of flavor)
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice — add this to the softened onions and stir it really well to combine and coat the grains. Let the rice toast for a minute, then add wine or cider (if you’re using) and let everything simmer for a few minutes until you can smell that the alcohol has cooked off. Then add 1/2 cup of veg stock and stir. You’ll be doing this every 5-8 minutes as the stock is absorbed, so you need to stay near the pot.
When you’re down to about 1 cup of liquid left to add, stir in the cauliflower. Keep adding the stock until you’ve topped it off, then taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.
Because we’re dairy free I don’t add regular parmesan. When I made this dish though, I found a heavenly nugget of cashew parm that I made a few months back. Perfect, honestly, for this kind of dish, because I just chopped it and sprinkled it in for that cheesy, earthy yum factor. If you don’t have any cashew cheese or if you’re nut sensitive, consider adding a little tofu sour cream or even toasted hemp seeds and a sprinkle of finishing salt. More often than not, if you add a sprinkle of good salt to a dish that calls for parm you will be satisfied.
Serve with a big salad and your tummy will be happy.
**Reader’s Response time: Do you like cauliflower? What is your favorite way to eat it? ~ one of my favorites is cauliflower poppers (roast florets and sprinkle with seasoning of choice).