Cauliflower risotto, ai Cavolfiore Romanesco
A cauliflower risotto is the ultimate comfort food on a winter’s day.
The pointy, bright green Romanesco cauliflower is ready to crop from the orto now and is filling the shelves of greengrocers all over Le Marche. It is much tastier than the white cauliflower and a typical Le Marche style of preparing it is to cover the florets in a tempora type batter and deep frying before adding to an antipasti platter. Making a risotto with it sounds a little odd but really makes the most of this vegetable. I use grated mature Pecorino cheese from Cossignano market in the risotto as it has a lovely rich taste. So here is my Le Marche version of Cauliflower Cheese!
400g risotto rice
1 Romanesco cauliflower
a large onion, few sticks of celery and 2 cloves garlic
1.5 litres of vegetable stock
2 tbs olive oil
2 wine glasses of white wine
100g freshly grated Pecorino or Parmezan cheese
one handful of bread
small jar of anchovies
Chop the cauliflower, parting the florets from the stalk. Place the florets in the hot stock. Finely chop the stalk, onion, garlic and celery and with the olive oil make a soffrito (gently fry for 15 minutes or so)
Then turn up the heat and add the rice for a minute, then the wine. Stir continuously until the alcohol evaporates.
Add the stock a little at a time with the cauliflower florets and stir, stir, stir! It normally takes me at least 20 minutes until all the stock and cauliflower is incorporated and then taste the rice to see if it is cooked, but still al dente.
Take the pan off the heat and add the cheese and a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, stir and leave for 2 minutes before serving. Add salt and pepper to taste.
The bread and anchovies are blitzed, then fried to present as a crunchy topping for the risotto.