BASIC RISOTTO WITH CAULIFLOWER

I was a risotto virgin before we made this recipe- John had made it before, and I had indulged in some great varieties at restaurants. But I had been wanting to try my hand at making risotto, and our five-week vegetarian challenge gave me the best excuse. I adapted this recipe from this Simple Risotto recipe found here. If you need a basic risotto recipe that you can add mushrooms or other veggies to, this one makes a great base. I was surprised at how well this recipe turned out considering everything I had ever heard about making your own risotto.



Ingredients:
1 head cauliflower
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
7 cups vegetable broth (you could probably make this work with 6 cups if you had to)
2.5 tablespoons butter
1 large shallot, diced
3/4 cup dry white wine
1.5 cups Arborio rice
2 to 4 cups spinach leaves
1 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp salt
 pepper to taste

Image 1 shows the first 1/2 cup of broth being added. Image 2 is what your rice will look like while it is absorbing the broth. Image 3 shows the creamy consistency once the rice is cooked and you no longer need to add any liquid. Image 4 is the final product.


Directions:
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Place broth in a medium sauce pan and heat to a simmer; reduce heat and keep warm.
Cut the cauliflower into medium small florets. Toss the cauliflower, olive oil,and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a bowl. Place cauliflower on a parchment lined baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes in the oven. You can stir them about halfway through baking. When they are tender and slightly browned they are done.

While the cauliflower is roasting, mince the shallot. In a large skillet add the shallot, butter, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and heat to medium high. Once the butter is simmering, reduce heat to medium, and cook until the shalot is translucent.  Stir in the rice, coating it with the butter mixture.  Now you can increase the heat to medium-high and leave it there for the duration of the cooking process. Refer to the images above when adding your liquids.

Add  the white wine, I like to use Sauvignon Blanc when cooking. Stir the wine and rice constantly until liquid is almost evaporated. At this point, you can start adding the broth. Add the broth in 1/2 cup increments, and stir frequently until broth is almost absorbed. Repeat until rice is tender, but still al dente, you shouldn't let the rice absorb all of the water once it is ready because you want to have a bit of "sauce" left.

Stir in the parmesan cheese, and the cauliflower. We added spinach leaves because we had them, but you could also substitute kale or mustard greens. Keep stirring the ingredients until they are all incorporated and your greens have begun to wilt. Remove from the heat and season to taste.

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