Tag Archives: risotto

Roasted Cauliflower Risotto

19 Feb

If you’ve read some of my recent blogs, you’d know that I’ve essentially become obsessed with cauliflower. You may be thinking that it seems to be an odd vegetable to be the object of such enthusiasm, as it doesn’t really taste like anything. WRONG! It’s all in how you prepare the cauliflower. Simply roasting it with olive oil, salt, and pepper really brings out the cauliflower flavor. Roasting is cool like that.

Thus, roasted cauliflower has become a popular side dish in my house. I had been thinking I needed to find some other recipes where the cauliflower was elevated to be the star of the dish. As if by destiny, this month’s Food Network Magazine Italian Issue included an enticing recipe for Roasted Cauliflower Risotto. Of course I had to make it right away!

I loved the dish. My husband said it was the best risotto he’s ever had. It was incredibly creamy, with great cauliflower flavor in the risotto itself (from the chopped stems– brilliant). The roasted cauliflower and almonds on top provided amazing texture as well as substance.

Plus, it was so easy to make! You only have to “stir vigorously” once at the end. This part was a great arm workout, if only for 2 minutes 🙂 But other than that, you just let the risotto do its thing in the oven. What could be simpler?

Roasted Cauliflower Risotto

Roasted Cauliflower Risotto (adapted from Food Network Magazine March 2011)

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower, florets cut into 1/2 inch pieces, stems chopped
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups aborio rice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4 oz fontina cheese, grated (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley

Preparation:

  • Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 475 F. Toss the cauliflower florets with 1 tbsp olive oil on a baking sheet. Spread in a single layer and season with salt and pepper. Roast on the upper oven rack, 5 minutes. Add the almonds and raost until the cauliflower is tender, about 15 more minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil in a Dutch oven 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. Add the broth, 2 cups of water, and 1 tsp salt; cover and bring to a boil. Transfer the pot to the lower oven rack and bake until the rice is tender, 15 minutes.
  • Remove the rice from the oven and add the butter, fontina, parsley, and salt and pepper, to taste. Stir vigorously until the risotto is creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Divide among bowls and top with the roasted cauliflower and almonds.

Makes 3-4 servings.

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Flex now, veg later

19 Dec

I suppose now would be the time to tell you that my husband is vegetarian and I am “flexitarian.” If you haven’t heard the term, it means someone who is not officially vegetarian but who chooses to eat very little meat. In fact, I am coining the phrase, “flex now, veg later” to reflect the fact that most likely, I’ll eventually end up vegetarian. I don’t particularly like meat, and I feel bad for the animals, especially since watching Food, Inc. (although, parenthetically, this documentary made me feel guilty about eating basically all food, not just meat). There’s just a couple of select meat items that I am going to have trouble giving up if I do officially become vegetarian. But I digress. The point is, you will rarely see me posting recipes that are not vegetarian.

Tonight I made baked risotto. This is probably my 3rd time making it, and I’ve made improvements each time. My recipe is very loosely based on one from “The Vegetarian Family Cookbook.” We borrowed it from the library and I would not recommend buying it. It is geared towards feeding kids vegetarian food, which is fine, but the result is food that is seriously lacking complex flavor. Nevertheless, I have made do (or is it “due”?) just fine by using the recipes in the cookbook as a “blank slate” and perfecting them with my adjustments.

It’s different for me every time, but here’s how I made it tonight:

Baked Risotto

Ingredients:
* 1 1/2 cups Aborio rice
* 4 cups vegetable broth (or stock)
* 3 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
* 1/4 large onion, diced
* 1 zucchini, diced
* 1 cup frozen broccoli, defrosted and chopped
* 1 cup corn, defrosted
* Garlic salt, basil, thyme, salt, & pepper (or any seasonings of your choice)
* Freshly grated parmesan

Preparation:
1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.

2. Combine the rice with the stock, 1 cup of water, garlic, and seasoning (just a few shakes of each spice).

3. Cover and bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. At the third stirring, add another 1 cup of water. When done, the rice should have a tender and creamy texture.

4. As the rice is baking, prepare the vegetables. Add a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until they begin to become translucent, about 3 minutes. Add zucchini and cook for another two minutes. Add the corn, broccoli, and the same seasonings you used in the rice (again, a few shakes around the pan). Cook until the veggies are tender, about 7 minutes. If they’re done before the rice, reduce to low heat.

5. When the rice is done, stir in the veggies. Let sit for 5 minutes.

6. Before serving, top generously with parmesan.

7. Enjoy!

(Makes 4-6 servings)

Now, you can be totally creative with what you put in this risotto. Red peppers are really good, but you can use whatever veggies or seasonings you have on hand. It’s a really easy recipe but it looks and tastes impressive. It’s amazing how creamy it gets when there is no cream in it!

Now that I have mastered the baked risotto, I think I’m going to tackle stovetop risotto next. I saw Butternut Squash risotto on 30 Minute Meals yesterday that looked delish, and quite straightforward.