One of the staples of my recipe collection is risotto. I don’t always make it according to the “rules” (I often use long-grain instead of arborio rice, don’t hate me!), but slow-cooked skillet rice in a creamy, broth-based, wine-based sauce is perhaps second only to pasta with cheese sauce in my kitchen repertoire. It is a recipe that’s easy to change up, use a different cheese, add some vegetables (or occasionally fruit!), toss in some nuts, try a different spice mix… risotto is endlessly adaptable and delicious, but it sure as heck is not low carb.
My collection of successful cauliflower “rice” recipes continues to grow: Cilantro Lime “Rice,” Cauliflower Jambalaya, Tabbouleh Salad, Vegetable Biryani, Mexican Rice, etc. Is cauliflower “rice” risotto a real possibility? My greatest successes with substituting cauliflower for rice have come with dishes where I keep the cauliflower raw — it stays crispy, doesn’t leak too much water into the dish, doesn’t become slimy. I’ve encountered some cauliflower “rice” risotto recipes online, but they involve cooking the “rice” in the same manner one would with a traditional risotto, and I just can’t imagine that working out okay without facing the same consequences I’ve experienced when cooking cauliflower “rice.” Would it be possible to make the risotto as a sauce, sans cauliflower first, and then add the raw cauliflower at the end?
I set to finding out.
6 cups cauliflower rice
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup white wine
3 bouillon cubes
1/2 cup cream or half & half
2 cups shredded parmesan or other white italian cheese
salt & pepper to taste
Rice your cauliflower. Fold into a clean kitchen towel and set aside.
Heat butter in a skillet. Saute the onion and garlic until softened. Add the white wine and bouillon cubes. Simmer until the cubes are dissolved and wine reduced by half. Add cream, cheese, salt and pepper. Simmer over low heat until cheese is melted. If the cheese gets clumpy as it melts, use an immersion blender to smooth it out. In the end, the cheese sauce should be thick and somewhat tacky, a good layer sticking to the spoon as you stir.
Allow to cool a bit. Still in the cauliflower rice. If you want to heat the rice up a bit, put the entire risotto mixture in a large, shallow casserole and heat uncovered in the oven at low temperature (200 or 250) until heated through. Serve with your favorite Italian meal and enjoy!
This dish actually turned out quite well. It’s not true risotto, of course, but it is a reasonable and tasty substitute.