I love risotto. This may sound like risotto heresy, but Nigella Lawson has a cheddar risotto recipe that is pure ecstasy. But that’s another story.
Risotto is a comforting dish to make and to eat. I find it very relaxing to add a cup of stock , slowly stir, and watch it absorb gradually into the rice. Add another cup, and watch it become creamier. Anticipate the reward at the end of the process.
I love cauliflower, but become bored with simply steaming it and serving it with salt and butter. And cream of cauliflower soup is nice too.
Roasting cauliflower brings out it’s nutty sweetness. The almonds also contribute their own nuttiness and a nice texture. I used to think I wasn’t a big fan of sage until this summer when I started using it fresh out of my garden.
My husband, who eats nuts out of hand, doesn’t want them IN anything. But he is finally starting to come around. I took a chance with the almonds in this dish and he actually enjoyed them. I hope we’re taking baby steps towards adding nuts to salads on a regular basis.
Roasted Cauliflower, Sage and Almond Risotto
Adapted from Donna Hay magazine, Issue 44
1 small-medium head of cauliflower, trimmed and chopped
2 Tbsp. olive oil
sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 cup (40g) chopped almonds
1 bunch sage, leaves picked off the stem
1.5 litres hot chicken stock (About 6 1/3 cups)
60g butter (Between 1/4 & 1/3 cup. Precision is not super important here).
1 onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups (300g) arborio rice
1/2 cup dry sherry
1/2 cup (40g) finely grated parmesan
Taleggio or strongly-flavoured cheese, sliced (I used Carr Valley Black Sheep Truffle cheese)
Preheat oven to 425F. Toss together the cauliflower, oil, salt and pepper. Place on a baking tray lined with foil. Roast for 15 minutes, add the almonds and half the sage and roast another 5-8 minutes or until golden and crisp. Set aside and keep warm.
Pour the stock into a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Chop the remaining sage and add to the pan with the rice and sherry. Cook, stirring until the sherry is absorbed, 1-2 minutes. Add the stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring continuously. As each cup is absorbed, add another cup. This should take about 25-30 minutes until the stock is absorbed and the rice is al dente. Look for a consistency that will still spread out in the bowl, not hold it’s shape as a scoop.
Stir in the parmesan, salt and pepper and top with the cauliflower mixture. Top each serving with a slice of cheese.