cauliflower risotto

cauliflower risotto

now that colder weather is here for many of us, risottos are popping up all over the blog world. risotto is one of my favorite comfort foods, a spoonful of creamy goodness. risotto is so easy to make and so endless in the possibilities, plus there is usually a good amount of leftovers for a lazy dinner the next night.

i have never actually ever seen a jamie oliver episode on the telly. but i do have his italy book and with those softly focused rustic photos, everything just looks and sounds so good.

i don't know about you, but when i think of cauliflower, "delicious" isn't exactly the first adjective that comes to mind. but i was intrigued by his recipe for cauliflower risotto, sprinkled with a bit of crunchy chili pangrattato on top.


and before you can say "eww, anchovy" at least just try a little bit, because the pangrattato adds just the right bit of spicy flavor to perfectly complement the creamy sweetness of the risotto. mr. mimi is an anchovy fan (will eat them straight out of the jar) and i am definitely not. but even for my serving, a smaller sprinkling was just lovely.

i visited beautiful sardinia last year. but if this is how the rest of italy tastes like, will someone book me a ticket?

creamy and crunchy

cauliflower risotto: serves 6
from jamie's italy (2006, p. 141)

2 handfuls of stale bread, torn into pieces (we used a bit of bread crumbs from the pantry instead)
1 small can of anchovies, including oil
3 small dried red chilies
olive oil
1 cauliflower head
handful of chopped parsley
salt + pepper
4 oz freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 pints stock
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 a bunch of celery, finely chopped
2 cups risotto rice (arborio)
a pour of white wine
6 tb butter (we definitely did not use that much!)

note: i always edit (for brevity) the recipes i post online, and usually there is no apparent difference. however, in this case, unfortunately jamie's colorful english voice (whiz, massaging, oozy, etc etc) will be lost in blog translation.

1. combine bread, anchovies, oil from can, and the chilies in a food processor, and pulse until mixed. heat oil in frying pan and fry the flavored bread crumbs, tossing and toasting until golden brown; set aside.

2. trim coarse leaves off cauliflower and cut out the stalk. chop the inner part of the stalk finely. heat olive oil and 1 tb butter in another pot and add the onion, garlic, celery, and cauliflower stalk. cook for about 15 minutes. this is called a soffrito.


3. meanwhile heat the stock and add the cauliflower florets to the hot stock. when the vegetables in the main pot have softened, add the rice and turn up the heat. keep stirring and after about a minute, add the white wine and keep stirring.

4. once the alcohol has cooked off, add your first ladle of hot stock and a good pinch of salt (i usually add a few cracks of pepper too). turn the heat down to a simmer. keep adding ladlefuls of stock, stirring gently, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. the cauliflower florets should be soft; add them to the risotto, crushing them as you go.

5. the rice is finished once it is soft with a slight bite. season if necessary and then remove from heat and add in 5 tb of butter, grated parmesan, parsley and stir in well. place lid on pot and let sit for 2 minutes. for each serving crack a little pepper, grate some more parmesan over the top, sprinkle with the anchovy pangrattato, and enjoy!

from jamie's italy


  1. This is delicious, Mimi! I love risotto and haven't had any in ages. I believe I'll be using this recipe soon!

  2. You have a wonderful blog.
    I came here as i was checking the spice event.
    So much delicious recipes, I have bookmarked few of them to try it.

  3. I'm with you - I won't eat anchovies straight, but to add flavor to dishes - I'm all for them! This sounds different and delicious - every recipe I've tried from this book was a winner.

  4. I love anchovy crumbs on pasta, I'll have to try it on cauliflower!

  5. I just saw some purple cauliflower at the farmers market that thought I have to figure out some way to use it before it's too late. You just did it for me! Looks great!

  6. patricia: thanks! risotto is one of my favorites in colder weather.

    happy cook: thanks for visiting! hope you like any of the recipes you try out!

    deborah: i think the worst thing for me is the smell, but the flavor is so good. i can't wait to try other recipes from the book!

    vicki: definitely try it!

    andrea: i missed the farmers market this weekend otherwise i would have tried the romanesco or purple variety. i bet it would be delish!

  7. I love anchovies! Canned, brined or dried I always have some in my pantry. The chili pangrattato adds 'zing' to the risotto and looks my kind of taste too! In my country, we like anchovies in chilli paste/sambal or curry. Thanks for sharing!

  8. I love this! What a great combination of flavors and textures! Well done!

  9. i haven't had cauliflower in such a long time... now i think i have a pefect excuse to go get some! thank you for sharing such a lovely recipe :)