Cauliflower Risotto gets a thumbs up from everyone! It's easier to make, and more delicious than you might think. Plus, while no risotto is 'diet' food, this is as close to a 'diet risotto' as you can get, using the creaminess of low-calorie cauliflower to make up much of the volume.
"This risotto was soooo delicious. ... I had to keep myself from gobbling the ENTIRE DISH in one sitting! " ~ ShinyLightDesigns
"I tried this recipe and yum yum yum!" ~ Mia
"This was a great dish, I actually made it twice this week! It is my first experience making risotto." ~ Jessica
Even adventurous home cooks return repeatedly to favorite recipes, bypassing new ones that at first seem appealing but then get dismissed as too ‘something’, insert ‘weird’ or ‘complicated’ or ‘exotic’ though what we really mean is ‘unfamiliar’.
For years, so it’s been for risotto and me. I saved it for special occasions when someone else could man the spoon and somehow never once made it myself. No more. Since last spring, I’ve made risotto two or three times a month in four different kitchens. On trips, I tuck Arborio rice into my suitcase, just in case I get a turn at the stove.
This creamy leek and cauliflower risotto gets thumbs ups from everyone, men, women, even kids. Served with a big salad, it’s an easy and inexpensive main dish but I like to serve it on the side with grilled shrimp or steak. Risotto does take nearly constant attention, although between stirs, there’s plenty of time to make the salad, set the table and sip a glass of wine.
Time to table: 45 minutes
Makes 4 cups, easy to double
- Big pot of salted water
- 1 large leek, trimmed & cleaned (see ALANNA’s TIPS)
- 1/2 head cauliflower (about 1 pound) cored, cut in florets
- 2-1/2 cups chicken stock (see TIPS)
- 2 slices bacon, chopped (or 2 tablespoons bacon grease or butter)
- 1/2 cup Arborio rice
- 1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan (from about 2 square inches)
- Fresh herbs - dill, oregano, another herb
- Salt & pepper to taste
Bring water to a boil. Drop in leek and cauliflower for 1 – 2 minutes then drain. Cut leek into half rings, florets into smaller pieces.
Meanwhile, in a small pot, bring stock to a boil; adjust heat to maintain slow simmer.
Meanwhile, in a large deep skillet, cook bacon til crisp, lift onto a plate to cool, leaving fat in skillet. Stir in leek and cauliflower, let cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Stir in rice, turning several times to coat with fat. Stirring nearly continuously, add simmering stock a half cup at a time, adding more only when what’s been added is incorporated. As mixture cooks, break cauliflower into smaller and smaller pieces. Mixture is done when rice is tender and creamy looking. Stir in Parmesan, cooked bacon, herbs and season to taste. Serve immediately.
VEGETARIAN RISOTTO For a vegetarian version, use olive oil or butter instead of bacon, then for broth, use vegetable stock or Homemade Vegetable Bouillon.
This is my go-to recipe for risotto. I've made it with all kinds of vegetables but cauliflower remains the favorite.
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