All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013
To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.
Let me apologize up front for the scant photography with this recipe. My phone completely died early in the process of making this & I had no way to document the various steps. Sorry!
Also – let me say that this dish could be made the traditional way – with Arborio rice – or the no carb way, using just grated cauliflower or it can be made the way I did it here – with about 2/3 of the recipe comprised of cauliflower but with a cup of Arborio for added texture. I would have skipped the rice entirely but my boyfriend is a finicky eater & textures, in particular, can put him completely off things. Having never tried a cauliflower-based risotto, I was unsure of the sturdiness of the final result, so, I added the cup of risotto rice. As it turned out, I could have skipped it because 1) I think the cauliflower holds up well and 2) he wouldn’t eat it anyway.
In the future, I will experiment with an all cauliflower risotto & I will better document the process. Do not be alarmed by the lack of photos here and, therefore, intimidated to try this. It is a very easy & delicious dish! The anchovy bread crumbs are very optional but add a nice hint of salty flavor the the sweetness of the carrots. I used some leftover homemade artisan bread but any bread crumbs would likely work. I just liked how chunky the homemade breadcrumbs were.
NO CARB Cauliflower Risotto with Caramelized Carrots, Saffron & Toasted Anchovy Bread Crumbs
1 large head cauliflower (2 heads if not using Arborio rice in the dish)
1 lb carrots
3 TBS olive oil – divided
3 TBS butter – divided
1 small onion – diced
1 cup Arborio rice (optional)
1/2 cup dry vermouth (or other dry white wine)
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
5+ cups vegetable (or other) stock
1 tsp saffron threads
1/2 tsp white pepper
Salt to taste
1 tsp sugar
1 large tomato – diced for garnish
Fresh parsley – chopped for garnish
Parmesan (or other hard cheese) – grated for garnish
For the Toasted Anchovy Bread Crumbs
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 TBS olive oil
1 TBS butter
1 TBS anchovy paste (or minced anchovies)
For the toasted anchovy breadcrumbs
If using stale bread – pulse the cubed bread in a food processor until crumbly.
Heat 1 TBS each of olive oil & butter & dissolve the anchovy in it. Add the breadcrumbs & stir until they begin to get browned & toasty. I drained mine on paper towels to remove excess oil & set aside.
For the Cauliflower Risotto with Caramelized Carrots & Saffron
Heat the stock to boiling & then reduce heat to low & simmer – covered.
Meanwhile, with the grating blade of your food processor, grate the cauliflower into rice-like shards. Set aside.
With the regular blade in your food processor, pulse the carrots into a near puree.
In a large stock pot, heat 1 TBS each of olive oil & butter on medium heat & add the minced carrots. Coat the carrots with the oil & butter then add 1/2 cup of water, 1/2 tsp salt & the sugar. Cook, covered, for about five minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring constantly (adding a tiny bit more olive oil if it gets too dry) until the carrots begin to brown. Remove from heat. Puree half of the browned carrots in a blender with 1 cup warm water. Set both carrot elements aside.
Using the same pot you cooked the carrots in, add 2 TBS each butter & olive oil & cook the onion until translucent. Add Arborio rice (if using) & cook, stirring constantly, for about a minute. Whether or not you are using Arborio, add the cauliflower now and, stirring constantly, add the cup of wine & let the alcohol cooks off over high heat. Add the carrot puree (not the browned carrot – but the puree with water added) and cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens a bit – maybe a minute.
Add 1/2 cup of hot vegetable stock and stir it often – until the liquid is absorbed. Repeat this process until all but about 1 cup of broth is incorporated.
Mix in the remaining browned carrots (reserving a small amount for garnish – if desired), the saffron threads, white pepper, the Parmesan & the heavy cream. Add small amounts of the remaining broth to thin the risotto to the consistency you like.
Serve immediately topped with the remaining carrots (if you reserved some), diced tomatoes, fresh parsley & more grated cheese & the toasted anchovy breadcrumbs.