A few weeks ago I dined at my favorite Italian restaurant in Amsterdam: Bussia. The risotto I was served there was a cauliflower risotto and it was the inspiration for the risotto I created. This risotto is very creamy with most of the cauliflower used to make a cauliflower puree and the remainder roasted in the oven for some additional flavor and crunch. As a finishing touch I added some roasted almonds. I was happy with the result and will definitely make this again. If made with vegetable stock, this is an outstanding vegetarian dish.
For 2 servings
400 grams (.9 lb) cauliflower
130 grams (2/3 cup) risotto rice
600 ml (2 1/2 cups) chicken stock or vegetable stock
small hand full of almonds
60 ml (1/4 cup) dry white wine
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp chopped fresh flatleaf parsley
3 Tbsp butter
60 ml (1/4 cup) cream
2 Tbsp olive oil
freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
salt and freshly ground white pepper
Chop the cauliflower.
Take about 1/3 of the cauliflower, selecting the nicer looking florets, and put them in an oven dish. Add 2 Tbsp olive oil and toss to coat them on all sides. Preheat the oven to 225C/440F.
Bring the stock to a boil and add the remaining cauliflower.
Cover and boil until the cauliflower is tender, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, roast the cauliflower in the oven at 225C/440F until golden with some brown edges, about half an hour. Roast the almonds as well, but they only need 5-8 minutes.
Take the cauliflower out of the stock with a slotted spoon and puree with an immersion blender or a regular blender.
Return the cauliflower puree to the stock and stir to mix. Keep this hot.
Melt 2 Tbsp of the butter in a thick-bottomed frying pan. Add the rice and the garlic and stir until the rice is very hot. Do not let the garlic burn.
Add the white wine and stir until most of it has evaporated.
Add a ladle of the cauliflower stock. Cook, stirring, until it has been absorbed by the rice. Add another ladle of cauliflower stock as soon as the previous one has been absorbed.
Keep stirring and adding stock until the rice is al dente, about 16-18 minutes. Taste the rice to test whether it is done.
Turn off the heat. Add some freshly grated parmigiano, the remaining tablespoon of butter cut into small pieces, and the cream.
Stir to mix. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground white pepper. Allow the risotto to rest for a few minutes.
Serve the risotto on warm plates, topped with the roasted cauliflower and almonds. Sprinkle with parsley.
Almonds go well with many Italian whites. Because of the cream, it is best to choose a full-bodied white that has had malolactic fermentation, which gives the wine a buttery aroma. Fiano di Avellino would be an excellent choice, although not all have had malo.