A delicious, steamy, cheesy risotto fresh off the stovetop. One of life's most formidable treasures, don't you agree? I think so. You know what else it is? A major carb bomb, full of difficult to digest proteins in the form of too much rice and gooey cheese that most adults lack the enzyme to digest. It feels real good going down but there is generally an inevitable packback afterwards in one form or another. For those who can tolerate it, classic risotto is an awesome treat every once in a while- I, however, would need to take 2 days off to recover from a bowl of cheesy risotto. Refusing to take none for an answer, I've alchemized a friendlier version that you can enjoy as often as you'd like, and without repercussions. The cauliflower risotto.
The humble cauliflower is in fact one of the plant kingdom's most versatile vegetables for emulating classic comfort food dishes. It acts like a chameleon, sneaking into everything from creamy mashed "potatoes" to a crunchy raw tabbouleh instead of cous-cous (which is a gluten-containing grain for those avoiding it.) One of my personal favorite uses is to sub it out for rice. Like the rice grain, cauliflower still boasts an impressive carbohydrate content but with a much longer and more complete micronutrient and mineral list. Rich in Vitamin C and Vitamin K (which is a fat soluble vitamin- I always suggest a little bit of oil or fat to fully assimilate dietary sources of K, D, or E), and Vitamin B6, which aids in the production of neurotransmitters. Cauli is also rich in folate, manganese, and omega-3 fatty acids- we all need more of those, as our modern diets are loaded with omega 6's and not enough omega-3's.
This is a fall and winter staple in my kitchen, served alongside a stew, or maybe some garlic griddled shrimp. It would also be quite nice with a big glass of red wine, if you're into that sort of thing. It also tastes pretty great cold while still in its tupperware, standing in front of the open refrigerator at 11pm. not like I've done that or anything.... :/
It keeps well in the fridge for about 4 days (if you can make it last that long). Serves 4. You will need a large skillet or cast-iron pan.
1 whole head of organic white cauliflower
8 mushrooms ( I used brown baby bella's, but shiitake or any other fresh mushroom would be wonderful)
6 sage leaves
1/2 leek, white and green parts, thinly sliced
1 small sprig fresh rosemary, chopped (sub dried herbs for all if you don't have fresh!)
3 sprigs fresh thyme
10 sage leaves- leave 4 intact and roughly chop the rest
1/4 bulb of fennel, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 TBSP coconut oil or ghee
1/4 cup chicken broth or organic coconut milk, for a creamier consistency
cracked black pepper
- first, remove any bits of the cauliflower that look unsavory. discard the leaves, any wilted/brown part of the stems, and any parts of the florets that look grey, mushy, or moldy. old cauliflower is one of the greatest offenders of dietary mold and spoilage! mold is not good for you. start with a clean slate.
- "rice" the cauliflower next. this can be done in 2 ways- 1) chop into florets and pulse in a food processor until small, rice-size texture is achieved. be careful as to not pulse too long or it will get mushy! you will probably have to do separate batches. 2) finely chop the cauliflower on a cutting board until a very fine texture is achieved. transfer the cauli rice to a medium sized bowl next to the stove.
- heat your large skillet or cast-iron pan to medium-high heat and melt the coconut oil. take 4 of the sage leaves and fry them for about 1 minute each side, and place them on a paper towel and gently pat dry. they should shrink slightly, darken in color, and develop a crispy texture once dry.
- add the mushrooms and sauté them for about 4 minutes, until they absorb the oil and start to soften.
- add the fennel, garlic, leeks, chopped sage, rosemary, and thyme to the pan and sauté for another 5 minutes, until the mushrooms start to sweat.
- pour in the riced cauliflower into the pan and sauté everything together for a couple of minutes. riced cauliflower does not take long to soften. salt and pepper.
- add the chicken stock or coconut milk, cover, and stir occasionally while everything cooks together and incorporates the flavours, about 4 minutes.
- remove lid and let any extra liquid boil off
- spoon everything into a serving bowl, and top with the fried sage leaves- you can crush them easily and crumble on top. always a little extra maldon sea salt and some cracks of black pepper.
my fat cat (below) is especially a fan of this one. seriously, he eats everything.