If you put risotto in the too hard basket then this one will show you that risotto isn’t as difficult as you think it is. This risotto is amazing, it’s velvety and creamy, without the cream and full of crispy crunchy texture to boot. This recipe makes for a simple and impressive dinner, I promise it’s not just ‘wet rice’.
The crispy texture comes from roasted cauliflower and the crunch from hazelnuts. The subtle hazelnut flavour works so well with the cauliflower, thyme and parmesan.
I sometimes use chicken bone broth instead of stock and it gives it a lovely flavour and lots of excellent health benefits, but vegetable stock or chicken stock would also work – use salt reduced though so you can control how your food is seasoned, and your salt intake.
2 cups arborio rice
1 litre stock
1.5 tsp mustard
4 Tbs thyme fresh
4 cloves garlic
1 Tbs butter
4 spring onions
80g parmesan, grated + extra to serve
4 Tbs flat leaf parsley
2 Tbs hazelnuts
1 tsp olive oil (or oil of choice)
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Break the cauliflower into florets and place 1/2 in a pot with the stock. Add water to cover cauliflower and bring to the boil and add the mustard. Continue boiling until very tender. Drain, reserving liquid for risotto. Place cooked cauliflower in a blender with a little olive oil, a 1/4 cup of stock and half the grated parmesan. Process until very smooth.
Line a baking tray with baking paper, place the hazelnuts in the tray with the whole skin on garlic cloves and roast until golden. Remove from the tray and rub off skins, reserve roasted garlic
Break up the remaining cauliflower into bite sized florets toss with 1 Tbs of the thyme, salt, pepper and tsp of olive oil. place on the lined tray and roast in the oven until golden.
While this is roasting, start the risotto. Melt the butter in a large fry pan with deep sides. Add the rice and toast gently for a minute. Add spring onion, remaining thyme and roasted garlic and continue to toast until the rice is just starting to colour. Add the reserved stock one ladle full at a time. After each ladle (approx 1/2 cup) stir gently until absorbed and add more. You can step away for a moment, just make sure it doesn’t get dry and you stir frequently. Continue to add stock until rice almost reaches al dente, about 20 minutes, it should not be dry, there should be a ‘looseness’ to the rice.
At this point add the pureed cauliflower to the rice and stir to combine. Cook for a few more minutes, until al dente and thick. Take off the heat, add the rest of the parmesan, taste, season. Spoon into bowls and top with roasted cauliflower florets, hazelnuts, parsley and serving parmesan (and a drizzle of olive oil if you’re that way inclined).