Cauliflower risotto (Risotto ai cavalfiori)

Cauliflower risotto

Serves 6

  • 2 handfuls stale bread, torn into pieces

  • 1 small tinned anchovies, oil from tin reserved

  • 3 small dried red chillies

  • extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 cauliflower

  • 1 risotto bianco recipe

  • 1 handful chopped fresh parsley

  • sea salt

  • freshly ground black pepper

  • Parmesan cheese, for grating

Whiz the bread in a food processor with the anchovies, the oil from the tin and the chillies. Heat a frying pan with a splash of oil and fry the flavoured breadcrumbs, stirring and tossing constantly until golden brown.



Trim the coarse leaves off the cauliflower and cut out the stalk. Chop the nice inner part of the stalk finely. Heat the stock and add the cauliflower florets to your pan of hot stock. In a separate pan, heat the olive oil and butter, add the onions, garlic, celery, and chopped cauliflower stalk and fry very slowly for about 15 minutes without colouring. When the vegetables have softened, add the rice and turn up the heat.



The rice will now begin to lightly fry, so keep stirring it. After a minute it will look slightly translucent. Add the vermouth or wine and keep stirring — it will smell fantastic. Any harsh alcohol flavours will evaporate and leave the rice with a tasty essence.



Once the vermouth or wine has cooked into the rice, add your first ladle of hot stock and a good pinch of salt. Turn down the heat to a simmer so the rice doesn't cook too quickly on the outside. Keep adding ladlefuls of stock, stirring and almost massaging the creamy starch out of the rice, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. By the time the rice is half-cooked, the cauliflower florets should be quite soft, so you can start to add them to the risotto with the stock, crushing them into the rice as you go.



Continue until the rice is cooked and all the cauliflower has been added. Taste the rice — is it cooked? Carry on adding stock until the rice is soft but with a slight bite. Don't forget to check the seasoning carefully. If you run out of stock before the rice is cooked, add some boiling water.



Remove from the heat and add the butter and Parmesan and stir in the parsley. Taste and season. Stir well. Place a lid on the pan and allow to sit for 2 minutes. This is the most important part of making the perfect risotto, as this is when it becomes outrageously creamy and oozy like it should be. Eat it as soon as possible, while the risotto retains its beautiful texture. Sprinkle with the anchovy pangrattato, grate some more Parmesan over the top and serve. So, so good!

Nutritional Information

Cauliflower risotto (Risotto ai cavalfiori)

Sprinkled with spicy golden pangrattato

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You just have to try this creamy cauliflower risotto with a gorgeous crunchy breadcrumb topping
Serves 6
50m
Not too tricky
Method

This is an absolutely delicious recipe. It's quite unusual, and the best thing about it is that it makes a hero of the much-underloved everyday cauliflower. If you're down the farmers' market, or at the supermarket, have a look around for a Romanesco cauliflower – it's a similar size to a normal cauliflower but spiky and green. It also has a delicious flavour. The reason I love this dish is because it takes some all-time classic ingredients and puts them together in a great way. In Britain, we normally eat cauliflower baked with cheese, and in Italy it is baked as a Parmigiana with cream, cheese and anchovies. All these flavours are in this risotto, with the added bonus of really crunchy chilli pangrattato sprinkled on top – it gives an amazing kick.

Whiz the bread in a food processor with the anchovies, the oil from the tin and the chillies. Heat a frying pan with a splash of oil and fry the flavoured breadcrumbs, stirring and tossing constantly until golden brown.

Trim the coarse leaves off the cauliflower and cut out the stalk. Chop the nice inner part of the stalk finely. Heat the stock and add the cauliflower florets to your pan of hot stock. In a separate pan, heat the olive oil and butter, add the onions, garlic, celery, and chopped cauliflower stalk and fry very slowly for about 15 minutes without colouring. When the vegetables have softened, add the rice and turn up the heat.

The rice will now begin to lightly fry, so keep stirring it. After a minute it will look slightly translucent. Add the vermouth or wine and keep stirring — it will smell fantastic. Any harsh alcohol flavours will evaporate and leave the rice with a tasty essence.

Once the vermouth or wine has cooked into the rice, add your first ladle of hot stock and a good pinch of salt. Turn down the heat to a simmer so the rice doesn't cook too quickly on the outside. Keep adding ladlefuls of stock, stirring and almost massaging the creamy starch out of the rice, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. By the time the rice is half-cooked, the cauliflower florets should be quite soft, so you can start to add them to the risotto with the stock, crushing them into the rice as you go.

Continue until the rice is cooked and all the cauliflower has been added. Taste the rice — is it cooked? Carry on adding stock until the rice is soft but with a slight bite. Don't forget to check the seasoning carefully. If you run out of stock before the rice is cooked, add some boiling water.

Remove from the heat and add the butter and Parmesan and stir in the parsley. Taste and season. Stir well. Place a lid on the pan and allow to sit for 2 minutes. This is the most important part of making the perfect risotto, as this is when it becomes outrageously creamy and oozy like it should be. Eat it as soon as possible, while the risotto retains its beautiful texture. Sprinkle with the anchovy pangrattato, grate some more Parmesan over the top and serve. So, so good!

Nutritional Information Amount per serving:

Calories

Calories are just a unit of energy. If you eat more than you use you can gain weight, or lose it if you don't eat enough. How much you need depends on your weight, gender and how active you are, but it's around 2,000 a day.

Carbs

Carbs are a great source of energy and, excluding foods such as potatoes, are made from grains - like bread, pasta and cereal. We all need carbs, but try to make them all wholegrain by sticking to brown bread, rice and pasta - they are much more nutritious.

Sugar

We all deserve a treat sometimes, but try to limit your sugar intake. Most of your sugar should come from raw fruit and milk, because they give us lots of nutrients too. Always check food labels so you know how much sugar you're eating.

Fat

We all need to eat a small amount of fat because it protects our organs and helps us grow. But we need to be careful about how much fat we eat and what kinds of fat, because in higher levels it's associated with weight gain, diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

Saturates

Saturated or "bad fats" are in beef, pork, chicken skin, butter, cream and cheese. Too much can be bad for our heart and cholesterol levels, but unsaturated or "good fats" in fish, nuts, avocados and some oils can help keep our hearts healthy if eaten in moderation.

Protein

Protein helps our muscles to grow and repair, as well as providing you with essential amino acids. When it comes to protein, try to eat leaner sources such as chicken and fish or non-meat sources such as eggs, dairy, beans, nuts, seeds, tofu and pulses.
  • Calories 1063
    53%
  • Carbs 154.7g
    60%
  • Sugar 3.7g 4%
  • Fat 31.3g 45%
  • Saturates 14.6g 73%
  • Protein 27.5g 61%
Of an adult's reference intake

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BUYING SUSTAINABLY SOURCED FISH

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Buying sustainably sourced fish means buying fish that has been caught without endangering the levels of fish stocks and with the protection of the environment in mind. Wild fish caught in areas where stocks are plentiful are sustainably sourced, as are farmed fish that are reared on farms proven to cause no harm to surrounding seas and shores.

When buying either wild or farmed fish, ask whether it is sustainably sourced. If you're unable to obtain this information, don't be afraid to shop elsewhere – only by shopping sustainably can we be sure that the fantastic selection of fish we enjoy today will be around for future generations.

For further information about sustainably sourced fish, please refer to the useful links below:

Marine Stewardship Council
http://www.msc.org/

Fish Online
http://www.fishonline.org

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  • 2 handfuls stale bread, torn into pieces

  • 1 small tinned anchovies, oil from tin reserved

  • 3 small dried red chillies

  • extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 cauliflower

  • 1 risotto bianco recipe

  • 1 handful chopped fresh parsley

  • sea salt

  • freshly ground black pepper

  • Parmesan cheese, for grating