April 20, 2010

Week 8: Cauliflower Risotto

For week 8 of the project I made a cauliflower dish. Cauliflower is a very polarizing vegetable—some people love it and others hate it. I was a very picky eater growing up, so I ate it rarely and reluctantly. I would eat small florets raw, usually with dip, but I was never a fan of cooked cauliflower. Eventually, I learned that cauliflower can be very tasty when cooked well.

My favorite cauliflower preparation is the gratin in the Bouchon Cookbook. Keller cooks and purées the inner stems of the plant with some cream. He then seasons the purée with a pinch of curry and horseradish powder, adds the florets, and tops off the dish with some Comté and panko. We also loved the cauliflower velouté that Emily had at Café Boulud in New York.

So when I came across a cauliflower risotto in Jamie's Italy, I decided to give it a try. Like the Keller gratin, the recipe uses both the inner stems and the florets of the cauliflower. The stems are minced and cooked with the onions at the beginning, and the florets are simmered in the stock for the first half of the cooking process. Then they are gradually added to the risotto with the stock. The risotto was finished with some Parmesan and topped with a spicy pangrattato and some parsley.

The risotto turned out well, but it was missing something. We'll probably give it another go with more cheese someday, but there are a lot of other things we want to try making first.

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