Whilst cauliflower cheese risotto might instantly make you think of a big pile of carb stodge on a plate and not a particular appetising image, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
It is a delicious elegant (yes I happily and honestly use this word alongside cauliflower!), simple dish.
What really makes it work is the roasting of the cauliflower, giving it some bite whilst still being reminiscent of a good cauliflower cheese and the spring onions cutting through the creamy softness of the cheese and leeks to give a balancing sharpness and depth of flavour. It is the young good-looking relative of a kindly retired old family friend.
I was paid the biggest complement by Mr Alpha about this dish when he questioned if it was really was gluten-free? (Too good to be true).
This made me laugh, as it sums up so many people’s preconceptions that anything that is full of goodness, (yes even cheese has a nutritional value) must taste like sh*t and if it is gluten-free well then it just must be weird, on some level at least. His comment made me particularly smile as I haven’t cooked him anything that hasn’t been gluten-free for months!
I hope you enjoy this risotto a final added benefit is that its easy on the wallet, perfect for a mid-week or Sunday night meal when you want something reassuring and tasty that feels a little like a hug on plate.
Feeds x 4 comfortably as a main meal
Cooking and Prep time 45 mins
Feeds x 6 as a starter
Cauliflower 250g, (4.5cups), remove stalks and break into little bite size florets
Olive oil 3 x tablespoons
Leek 2 x stalks
Arborio rice 250g
White wine 1 x 175 ml glass
Celery 1 x stalk
1 litre of gluten-free vegetable stock warmed
Mild hard Goats cheese x 25g grated
Mild Cheddar cheese x 25g grated
Spring onions 5 x diced
Flat Parsley chopped 2 x tablespoons
Parmesan cheese 2 x tablespoons
1. Warm the oven to 200c, gas mark 6, or 400f
2. Put the cauliflower florets in to a roasting tray and cover with x 2 tablespoons of olive oil
3. Place the roasting tray in the oven for 35-40 mins
4. Whilst the cauliflower is roasting, dice the leeks and celery
5. Put 1 x tablespoon of olive oil to warm in a good sized shallot casserole pan or deep frying pan with a lid
6. Stir in the diced leeks and celery and gently fry on a low heat until softened
7. Add the risotto rice and stir for approx. 1 min, the rice will become slightly translucent in colour
8. Add the glass of white wine and turn up the heat slightly
9. Once the wine has been absorbed (approx. 1 min) start adding your vegetable stock 1 ladle (cup) at a time
10. The time it takes to cook your risotto will depend on the thickness of your pan, heat of your stove etc but will probably be between 18 -30 mins. The most important thing is that you DO NOT LEAVE IT, you need to constantly stir it whilst adding the stock one ladle (or 1/2 cup) at a time.
Risotto is a very simple dish but it does need constant care and attention so that at no time the rice sticks to the pan. Just before all the liquid from the stock is absorbed by the rice add your next ladle or cup of stock.
11. Just after you add your last ladle of stock add the goats and cheddar cheese and keep gently stirring until you get a nice slick, silky consistency. At this point you may need to add a tiny bit of boiling water if it is too gooey (like wall paper paste).
12. When you happy with the consistency turn off the heat and season with salt and pepper to your taste
13. Finally stir in the spring onion, parsley and parmesan put on the lid and leave for 2-3 mins before serving (at this stage you could add a small knob of butter or a splash of Olive oil, I didn’t think it needed it but might add next time if I’m feeling brave/skinny).