Roasted Cauliflower Short Grain Brown Rice Risotto with Lemon, Walnut and Mascarpone

By • October 2, 2010 24 Comments

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Author Notes: Roasting cauliflower coaxes out sweet, nutty notes that are nowhere to be found when it is eaten raw. Working from the flavors of roasted cauliflower, I decided to make a risotto. Lately, I have been using short grain brown rice for risotto; I like the subtle nuttiness it adds, I always have it on hand and thought it would complement the cauliflower nicely. I added lemon and walnuts for a bright, slightly bitter contrast, and mascarpone for creamy richness. I did not want the cauliflower to dry out in the oven, so steamed it in a foil packet first, to retain moisture. The result is surprisingly delicate and light. - gingerroot gingerroot

Food52 Review: What a sophisticated dish! I took this to the neighbors for a grilled steak dinner and we devoured it. It would be terrific with seafood as well. The nutty notes of roasted cauliflower perfectly compliment the nuttiness of the rice, but it was so creamy and light with the mascarpone and parmesan cheeses and lemon notes. The cauliflower nearly dissolves into the risotto. I had hazelnut oil and hazelnuts and I used them instead of the walnuts. Pecans would have been good too. If you don't have any nuts, or oil, truffle oil would have really been nice. Creamy, lemony, nutty and delicious. Not just dinner party worthy -- restaurant worthy, and very healthy. - Burnt OfferingsBurnt Offerings

Serves serves 6 as a first course, 4 as a main course

  • 3 cups cauliflower florets
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cauliflower leaves (thick, fibrous stalks discarded)
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups short grain brown rice
  • 1/3 cup vermouth
  • 1 meyer lemon
  • 2 generous tablespoons Mascarpone
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped Italian parsley
  • walnut oil, for drizzling
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, lightly toasted in a 350 degree oven for 5-7 minutes, finely chopped
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Tear off two approximately 12” square pieces of tin foil and set aside on a baking sheet.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss cauliflower with a few glugs of olive oil, a pinch of sea salt and one finely chopped garlic clove. Lay out cauliflower mixture on one of your tin foil squares in a single layer. Top with second piece of foil and fold up edges on all sides to create a sealed packet. Roast in oven for 15 minutes.
  3. While cauliflower is roasting, combine chicken stock and water in a saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
  4. Carefully pry off top piece of foil to expose cauliflower (watch out for the hot steam!). Shake tin foil slightly to move pieces around. Roast cauliflower for 6 minutes more, until tender and browned but still moist. Remove pan from oven. When cooled, coarsely chop cauliflower florets.
  5. Transfer chopped roasted cauliflower to original medium bowl. Add zest from lemon and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Set bowl aside
  6. In a Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion, finely chopped garlic clove and cook until fragrant, stirring. Add cauliflower leaves and a pinch of salt. Continue cooking and stirring until onion softens and begins to become translucent. Stir in rice and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add wine and cook, stirring, until absorbed, about 1 minute.
  7. Stir 1 cup (I use my soup ladle) simmering broth into rice and cook, stirring constantly until absorbed. You want mixture to be simmering, not boiling, so adjust heat if necessary. Continue cooking and adding broth, 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding the next, until rice is just tender and creamy about 25 minutes. Fold in cauliflower-lemon mixture and stir to combine. Add mascarpone, stirring to combine. Turn off heat. Taste for salt, adding if necessary. Stir in parsley and several grinds of fresh black pepper. If risotto is too thick, thin with a bit of the remaining broth (there will be a little left). Plate risotto, sprinkling each serving with parmagiano-reggiano, a drizzle of walnut oil and toasted walnuts, serve immediately and enjoy.

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