Cauliflower Risotto (Risotto al Cavolfiore)

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.

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Ingredients

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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

Preparation

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Chop the cauliflower.

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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.

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Bring the stock to a boil and add the remaining cauliflower.

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Cover and boil until the cauliflower is tender, about 15 minutes.

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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.

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Take the cauliflower out of the stock with a slotted spoon and puree with an immersion blender or a regular blender.

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Return the cauliflower puree to the stock and stir to mix. Keep this hot.

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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.

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Add the white wine and stir until most of it has evaporated.

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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.

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Keep stirring and adding stock until the rice is al dente, about 16-18 minutes. Taste the rice to test whether it is done.

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Turn off the heat. Add some freshly grated parmigiano, the remaining tablespoon of butter cut into small pieces, and the cream.

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Stir to mix. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground white pepper. Allow the risotto to rest for a few minutes.

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Serve the risotto on warm plates, topped with the roasted cauliflower and almonds. Sprinkle with parsley.

Wine pairing

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.

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23 thoughts on “Cauliflower Risotto (Risotto al Cavolfiore)

  1. I could eat that picture of your cauliflower risotto dish. It looks absolutely sinful–WANT! Thanks for thinking of combining those two cream-colored ingredients into one creamy dreamy dish. But most of all, thank you for sharing it.

    My Stefan’s To-Cook List is getting longer!

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  2. ThI looks amazing! I live the idea of adding te puréed vegetable to the stock. Now I’m wondering what other veggies I could do that with. I see a brilliant emerald pea risotto in my future. 🙂

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  3. Could you do a post on good restaurants in Amsterdam, just kinda listing the ones you rate highly? I go there for work quite often and find it hard to find better ones. Equally I have ex-pat colleagues there that have found it difficult to sniff out good places. I think last time we ended up in this thai place, which was quite OK. http://www.restaurantkinnaree.nl/

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    1. Thanks for the suggestion, I should do something like that. I actually don’t eat out that often in Amsterdam since I prefer to spend the money on ingredients and wine and do it myself. But there are definitely some tips I could share.

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  4. Great idea to puree the cauliflower and use that as the liquid rather than just stock, I imagine it gives the risotto a wonderful flavour. I will definitely try this, thanks for the recipe! Camilla

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  5. A great recipe, Stefan, and a delicious-looking dish. I’ve seen cauliflower used similarly to make a low-fat carbonara. I think I’ll give both recipes a try. Thanks, Stefan!

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        1. Ah now it makes sense. When I read your previous comment, I was wondering how to substitute for an ingredient that isn’t even there 😉 Alfredo is one of those American-Italian dishes that does not exist in Italy. Just last night, an American lady next to us at a restaurant in Sicily was wondering why she didn’t get olive oil for dipping the bread like in the US. She didn’t ask about the waiter with the huge pepper mill though 😉

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