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Roasted Cauliflower Dirty Risotto

Posted Jan 10 2013 8:00am
I always forget about risotto, and I don't know why. Every time I make it, I must say, "oh my gosh this is soooo good!" about ten times before I finish. It's also one of my favorite dishes to get in restaurants. When I received two heads of cauliflower in this week's CSA share, I remembered seeing a recipe for a cauliflower risotto float around the blogospehere a few months ago. On a lazy Friday night, nothing sounded better than a warm bowl of creamy risotto. Friday's are always a little tricky for us dinner-wise. I pick up the CSA share on Thursday, and go shopping Saturday, so I'm inundated with produce, but don't have a stocked pantry or fridge to cook with until after I shop. I surveyed the fridge, but didn't have white wine or parmesan cheese for a traditional risotto, so I improvised.

Dirty risotto is a concept I've seen on cooking shows, where you use red wine rather than white. Luckily we always have a bottle of red in the wine rack, so that was covered. We had blue cheese in the cheese drawer, which pairs well with cauliflower, some thyme from the previous week's CSA share, and a sole onion in the vegetable bowl, so this recipe came together out of fridge scraps, but you would never have known! It may look a little funny with the purple-ish tint, but this risotto was so full of flavor, creamy, pungent, earthy and comforting. I would definitely serve this at a dinner party, or make it again just for myself. Even my non-cauliflower-loving husband thought this was delectable. And once you've opened a bottle of wine for 1/2 c. in a recipe, you must also pour yourself a glass to drink while cooking, maybe one more to enjoy with dinner!

Roasted Cauliflower Dirty Risotto
Veggie by Season original

1/2 head of cauliflower or 1 small head1 tbsp. olive oil1 tbsp. butter1 small yellow onion, finely choppedkosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 c. arborio rice
1/2 c. dry red wine
1-2 sprigs of fresh thyme or 1/4 tsp. dried
2 - 2 1/2 c. vegetable stock, warmed
2 oz. crumbled blue cheese

Preheat oven to 400*
Drizzle a rimmed cookie sheet with 1 tbsp. olive oil.
Cut cauliflower into small florets, toss with oil on cookie sheet, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Roast for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the risotto.
Melt butter over medium heat in a shallow saute' pan.
Add onions, season with salt and pepper and saute' for 5 minutes, until softened and edges begin to caramelize.
Add rice, toast for about 1 minute, stirring frequently.
Add red wine, bring to a simmer, once reduced by half, add about 1/2 c. stock, stir well.
Continue to add stock 1/2 c. at a time, stirring with each addition, until rice is plumped and cooked, about 20 minutes.
Remove cauliflower from the oven, chop the florets into small, bite sized pieces and stir into risotto.
Turn heat off, taste risotto and season, if necessary.
Add 1 oz. blue cheese, stir well.
Spoon risotto into a bowl, top with remaining blue cheese and chopped cauliflower.
Serve - makes 2 large main servings or 4 sides.
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