I will admit that I have always been sceptical about using cauliflower in place of arborio rice. Without the slightly chewy texture and creaminess created from the starch of the rice, I was unsure how I was going to make cauliflower rice resemble the classic Italian dish.
Don’t get me wrong, this grain free risotto isn’t identical to the traditional dish, but the flavours are very similar. By ensuring the cauliflower rice remains chunkier in size, and stirring in a few spoonfuls of coconut cream (which adds creaminess without any extra flavour) you can emulate the same chunky texture and cream rich flavour without any starch or dairy.
I love the earthiness the mushrooms and thyme bring to this risotto, but if you are not a fan of mushrooms they can easily be substituted for grilled asparagus, peas or a protein such as shrimp or pancetta. Play around with different veggies, proteins and stocks, you really can’t go wrong!
- 2 cups sliced mushrooms
- ½ cup dried porcini mushrooms
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 2 sticks celery, finely diced
- ¼ cup white wine
- ½ cup chicken stock (or vegetable stock if vegan)
- 4 cups cauliflower rice (approximately 1 small head of cauliflower)
- 1½ tbsp coconut cream
- 1 tsp truffle oil (optional)
- In a bowl soak the dried porcini mushrooms in ¾ cup hot water for 20 minutes. Once soaked remove from the water and chop, save the liquid the mushrooms were soaking in.
- In a frying pan sauté the sliced mushrooms, soaked mushrooms and crushed garlic in 1 tablespoon of olive oil on low heat, season with the chopped thyme and salt and cook until the mushrooms are golden in color (approx 8 minutes). Once cooked, set aside.
- Cut a head of cauliflower into quarters and place in a food processor. Quickly pulse until the cauliflower is broken down into pieces the size of a grain of rice (don't blend for longer then necessary, you don't want the cauliflower to become too fine)
- In a sauce pan heat the white wine, chicken stock and the water the mushrooms were soaking in and keep it on a low simmer.
- Place a large pan on high heat, add the chopped onion, celery and a large spoonful of the stock/white wine mixture. As the liquid begins to evaporate, add another spoonful.
- Add in the cauliflower rice along with a spoonful of the broth. as soon as the liquid has begun to evaporate add in another spoonful of broth. Repeat this process once or twice more, tasting the cauliflower each time for tenderness before adding more liquid. The cauliflower rice should be tender but not mushy.
- Stir in the coconut cream and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with parmesan cheese before serving. To give the dish an extra kick of flavour, lightly drizzle with truffle oil.