Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tonight's Dinner: Cauliflower Risotto

If you spend any time on Montauk Highway between Watermill and Bridgehampton you know that Long Island is famous for its cauliflower. Today, I stopped and bought some, and tonight I incorporated it into risotto. Cooking the florets in broth softened them up a bit, and when I stirred them into the rice they broke into easy-to-eat pieces. The result was a wonderfully creamy vegetable and rice dish, just right for this beautiful October evening.

Cauliflower Risotto

Serves 6

1 quart low sodium canned chicken broth
2 cups water
5 cups small cauliflower florets (from one small head of cauliflower)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 slice bacon, chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
1 1/4 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1. Heat the broth and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the cauliflower and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook at a simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off heat.
2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until beginning to crisp. Add the shallot and pepper flakes and cook until shallot is softened, about 3 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add wine and cook, stirring, until most of the liquid has evaporated.
3. Ladle a cup or two of the broth and cauliflower mixture into the pot and cook, stirring, until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid. Continue the cook, adding the broth and cauliflower in 1-cup increments, always stirring, until the rice is al dente and the cauliflower has broken into pieces. If you run out of liquid, add some water to the pot, heat it up, and continue to add to the pot until the rice is done.
4. Remove the pot from the heat, stir in the cheese, remaining butter, and salt to taste. Serve immediately.

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