Saffron Cream Pasta with Cauliflower, Tomatoes & Chili Flakes

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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I am reposting this recipe from August 2013 because I have a new Video Vegan episode to go with it.  Here it is:

That photo is un-retouched & shot in natural light.  So – yes!  That pasta really IS that color!  Pretty to look at but with the delicate flavors of saffron and cauliflower – this is a delightful pasta dish.

I found this great saffron liquid at Super King for $7.

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That is a way cheaper option than saffron threads but saffron threads will be easier to find, I suspect.  I actually made this twice because the first time I made it – I made it with whole wheat fusilli & I didn’t like the photos.  This dish above was made with regular linguini.   The first time I made it, I used white wine & ghee (clarified butter).  The second time, I used regular butter & skipped the wine.  I think they tasted pretty much the same so I am going to post the one I made this morning.  There is only a tiny bit of the heavy cream per serving so do not be alarmed.  It isn’t as rich as you might fear.

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Saffron Cream Pasta with Cauliflower, Tomatoes & Chili Flakes

INGREDIENTS (for two very healthy servings)

1/2 lb dry pasta or your choice

1 small head cauliflower cut into bite-sized florets

2 large shallots – minced

2 tomatoes – diced

2 TBS ghee or butter (or vegan alternative)

1/2 cup heavy cream (or vegan alternative – almond milk should work fine)

1/4 cup dry white wine (optional)

1-2 TBS olive oil

1 generous pinch (1/2 a tsp or more) saffron threads steeped in 1/4 cup hot (not boiling) water OR 1 TBS (or more) saffron liquid from a bottle

Crushed red pepper to taste

Salt to taste

White pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Steam the cauliflower for about 5 minutes.  Set aside.

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Heat the olive oil over medium heat & saute the shallots until just soft but not browned.  If using wine – add it now & cook it off for about a minute.  Or just skip ahead.

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Add the ghee or butter and the heavy cream & the saffron.  Simmer over medium heat until it reduces by about half.  Add the tomatoes & the steamed cauliflower.

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Add salt & white pepper to taste.

Cook the pasta according to instructions, drain & add directly to the pan with the saffron sauce.  Combine thoroughly.  Serve with lots of crushed red pepper.

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Vegan Butter Chicken and Chickpeas for the Slow Cooker

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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I have really become obsessed with my slow cooker.  Slow cookers – as I have many.  The one that I can set to cook for 5 hours & then just keep the food warm is the best because I can set it & go to work & come back 10 hours later to a house that smells delicious & a warm meal waiting for me.  If you don’t have a low cooker – I really encourage you to get one.  Easy doesn’t get easier than a recipe like this one.  Just throw everything in & set the timer for 5 hours & that is it.

I used Beyond Meat vegan chicken because it is, hands down, the best fake chicken on the market.  But you could use real chicken or just use chickpeas.  Your call.

I used two kinds of saffron:

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That Golchin liquid stuff is affordable (under $10) and is GENIUS.  If your store doesn’t carry it – buy it on Amazon or something.

The saffron threads are delicate & lovely but very costly.  They were part of a gourmet gift box I was given for my birthday – and not usually on my shopping list.  Either or both of these work – but I suggest trying to use one – because saffron is such a specific & lovely flavor & adds gorgeous color – but it isn’t really critical for this dish to be a success.  So – if you don’t have it, don’t like it, can’t find it – blow it off.

I used dry chickpeas because I am delighted by how cheap they are & I like that they have been processed less & have no added sodium.  But – if you want to use canned ones – go ahead!  This could be made stove-top easily with canned beans – just don’t add the 4 cups of water.

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Vegan Butter Chicken and Chickpeas for the Slow Cooker

Feeds a LOTTA folks – maybe 8-10 with rice

INGREDIENTS

1 lb dry chickpeas (or 4 cans – but if you use canned chickpeas – eliminate the water here)

3 cups water (4 cups if you are gonna leave it for 10 hours – like I did)

9 ox vegan chicken

2 jalapenos (red or green) – seeded & diced

1 onion – diced

4 garlic cloves – chopped

2 TBS ginger – minced

8 oz tomato sauce (I used a homemade arrabbiata)

6 oz tomato paste

14 oz can lite coconut milk

1/2 tsp crushed saffron threads (optional)

3 TBS saffron liquid (optional)

1 TBS garam masala

1 TBS curry powder

1 tsp chili powder

1 TBS turmeric

2 tsp salt

2 tsp pepper

garnish – cilantro, scallions, yogurt (vegan or otherwise), cooked rice

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DIRECTIONS

Put everything into a slow cooker & set on high for 5 hours.

If you are using canned chickpeas – do not add water.  As you see above – this recipe has lots of gravy (the upper picture is before it cooked & the other is how it looked 10 hours later).  If you want  it thicker – whisk some cornstarch (2-3 TBS) into a little water & stir it in.  It should thicken up.  If it is too thick – add water.

Serve over rice & garnish at will.

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Zucchini Squash Blossom & Saffron Pesto Pasta with Cauliflower

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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I love me some squash blossoms.   They are just so pretty & elegant and the fact they are seasonal & so hard to come by makes them all that much more exotic & satisfying to use.  They have only the slightest hint of flavor, though.  Less even than my latest other favorite ingredient – saffron.  Saffron is also rare – in fact – I believe it is the most expensive spice in the world when priced by the pound.  Saffron is also pretty & delicate & elegantly flavored.  So, I thought, why not marry the two in a recipe?  This pesto is as easy as any other, assuming you have some kind of food processor or blender.  I didn’t use garlic as I thought it might overwhelm the other flavors and, as it turned out, I found that the Parmesan I used ended up being the most powerful taste.  Still, this is a pretty & easy & quite yummy.  And it is a great way to use squash blossoms that might no longer be in the peak of their glory (as in – been in the fridge a few days).  Like these:

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I added cauliflower to the dish because 1) it, too, has a lovely & delicate flavor and 2) it lightens up a pasta dish with all its bulky, veggie goodness.  Feel free to leave it out or even to use only cauliflower & leave out the pasta.   Also – I used whole wheat spaghetti but any pasta (or risotto) would work.

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INGREDIENTS

1/2 pound dry pasta

1/2 head cauliflower – cut into florets

15 (or so) squash blossoms (plus extra chopped up for garnish)

1/4 cup almonds (about 30) or other nut (pine nut, walnut, pecan)

3 TBS saffron liquid (or a generous pinch steeped in 3 TBS warm water)

1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan

1/3 cup olive oil

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (optional) – (I used more but I feel I overdid it.)

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DIRECTIONS

Remove the pistils from the centers of the squash blossoms & then wash them.  Separate a few to chop as garnish.

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Toast the nuts in a dry pan for about 2-3 minutes or until they are fragrant.  Be careful not to burn them.  Blend the blossoms, nuts, saffron water, & cheese in a food processor or blender.  Add the crushed red pepper (if using).  Drizzle in the olive oil.  You might need to scrape the sides of the work bowl a few times.

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Cook the pasta according to directions – adding the cauliflower florets for the last 5 minutes.  Drain & toss with the pesto.  Garnish with chopped squash blossoms and/or chopped basil or parsley or a tad more crushed red pepper or Parmesan.

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Saffron Risotto with Asparagus & Fava Beans, Ziplock Omelettes, Pasta with Watercress & Lemon Cream and Disturbing Pedicures

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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YUP!  I wrote a very funny novel!  I hope you will read it!  www.BathingBook.com

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OK.  First of all, let me say that I like risotto.  A lot.  But I am finding that, when I make it, it tastes pretty much the same no matter what I use as the highlight ingredients.  That can be disappointing.  Also – there is an art to cooking it just right & to not presenting some waterlogged, mushy rice mess.  The risotto I made last night disappointed me primarily because the saffron color & flavor both somehow got lost.  That was certainly not the case with my Saffron Cream Pasta with Cauliflower.

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That pasta dish was exactly as delicious as it is stunning to see.  But my risotto – not so much.  I’m not saying it didn’t taste good.  It did.  But it has no big wow factor.  So – I am going to use this blog to post a few different items I’ve made that, while I recommend them, I didn’t feel they merited their own post.

But first – let me tell you about a recent experience I had at the nail salon.  This week, my friend Laura is in town from Boston.  She suggested that she & I (and her 12 year old daughter) all go for pedicures & maybe some lunch.  Sounded good to me so I picked them up & brought them to my local, strip mall nail salon.  When I go on my own, I just sit in the regular chairs & eschew the massage chairs because 1) they add $4 to the tab & 2) I think massage chairs are pretty lame.  But, Laura & her daughter were already planted in them & Laura insisted that I join them for the experience.  As I crawled into my chair, Laura said, “Hey!  This chair is pinching my butt!”  I made some lame joke about being desperate & lonely enough to welcome a little grab ass from an electronic chair & plopped myself down.  Now, I don’t know if there is a default setting on the chairs or if the staff sets them a certain way or if you just get it the way the last resident left it but my chair was on full assault mode.  The remote control for it was more complicated than trying to set a VCR to record a TV show & so, as I fumbled, I was victim to the existing settings.  The settings included words like “flap” & “knock” & “knead.”  Flap?  What the fuck is flapping?  I knew what knocking was because it was actively happening to me.  I felt like I was at Super King in the sorry position of standing in front of an especially impatient (and rude) woman with a mustache, black socks & Jesus boots prodding me from behind, angling to cut me in line at the cheese case.  I was in the middle of trying to express something or other to Laura when the chair commenced its “lower body” massage.  I froze mid-word, clamped my mouth shut & my eyes widened in surprise & horror.  Laura looked back at me & knew exactly what had just begun with my chair.  “Right?” she asked rhetorically, her eyes as wide as mine.  And she laughed.  The butt pinching she had mentioned was no butt pinching at all.  It was more like there was a little person under the chair wearing a boxing glove – who was using that boxing glove to massage our taints.  The glove rolled around, providing pressure from front to back & back to front again.  It was very disconcerting and, quite frankly, a shocking violation.  Who thinks they are going to get a vulva massage at a low end nail salon?  Not me.  Was this some sort of “happy ending” house of prostitution?  Did this require a bigger tip?  Ugh!  And if you think sleeping in a cheap motel on a bed with sheets of questionable sanitation is gross – just think of the places that boxing glove has been!

“OMG!  How do I turn it off?!”  I was panicking.

Laura was laughing and, sotto voce, asked, “What do you think…” and she subtly gestured over her shoulder where her 12-year-old daughter sat placidly in her chair.  Oh jeez!  Was that chair molesting her daughter, too?  These chairs had succeeded in freaking out a jaded 48-year-old & a mother of two.  What damage was that third one doing to the psyche of Laura’s innocent middle-schooler?  Methinks – in retrospect – that her chair must have been set differently because, if she was getting the full “lower body” treatment (vagina massage!  Let’s call a spade a spade here) – she gave no indication & I have a really hard time believing anybody could field the initial goosing & not have THIS reaction:

So – after much fumbling, I managed to get the pelvic exam part of the massage to stop.  But in my panic, I apparently upped the “knocking” part & couldn’t turn that off.  I tried to ask Laura but I was getting punched so hard, my speaking voice got all choppy – like I was Katherine Hepburn in the final grip of Parkinson’s.  “La-a-aur-a?  H-how do-o-oo you-ou t-t-u-uh-urn th-is-is o-o-offf?”  While I was speaking, I looked down at myself & noticed that my boobs & every other loose bit on my frame (and there are lots of bits looser than I would like) were being jostled around like a bowl of Jello.  I looked at Laura, a woman gifted in the breast department, and saw her body also looked like it was being wrestled by one of those old-fashioned fat loss jiggle machines.

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By the way – I am old enough to have belonged to a gym in Boston (Gloria Stevens) that actually HAD those things AND the stupid roller machines.

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Jesus.  Had I known what this chair would get up to – I might have worn a corset or some other support device.   A full body Spanx.  Something.  A wet suit.

As Laura and I jiggled & giggled & poked randomly at the remotes to no avail – ah, yes!  Cue the creepy male proprietor.  Here he comes to position himself before the display of waggling female appendages.  He not only stood there taking it all in – he also engaged us in conversation & passed his phone between us – sharing his remarkable weight loss photos.  This effectively kept us from being able to focus on our remotes & end the shaking that would eventually take a harder toll on our boobs than gravity.  “Oh, yes!  I see!” we said, politely enthusiastic.

“Exercise & eating!  I eat a lot of cheese!” he declared.

Good for you, buddy.  Now take your “before & after” photos & your prominent moles with three-inch whiskers dangling from them & get outta here!  I need to adjust my bra straps!

Eventually, we were able to get the chairs to settle down & we got down to the business of the pedicures.  Here is a photo of Laura & me – exhibiting the post-rough-sex glow we had – courtesy of those perverted chairs with anger issues.

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Notice the Bat phone in the background?  Look at this thing.

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Maybe Fu Manchu there was more than just a thinned down, lusty boob man.  Maybe he was a superhero & this was his special superhero phone?  They also had this throwback-looking thing.

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Maybe that was his teleporter.  I have no way of knowing.  What I do know is that I got glittery, red toenails meant to draw your eye from my increasingly problematic bunions.

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Are feet copacetic in a food blog?  Likely not – and for that – I apologize.

I also know that when we went to lunch – I opted not to take any chances on this place –

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– because I still felt violated by the massage chair & was in no shape to roll the dice on the “anal beer” these guys seem so proud of.  Even if it is served ice cold.

That really is an unfortunate breakdown of a perfectly decent word, no?

Alright – now that I’ve gotten that off my chest – I can share a few underwhelming recipes!  YAY!

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I grilled shrimp for this but you can lose them if you want to.

Saffron Risotto with Grilled Shrimp, Asparagus & Fava Beans

INGREDIENTS

Shrimp (optional)

2 cups Arborio (risotto) rice

1/4 cup dry white wine (optional)

4 cups stock (I make 5 just in case the risotto needs overcooking)

1/3 cup grated Parmesan

1 large shallot (or small onion)

Asparagus

Saffron (3 TBS of the liquid or a generous pinch of saffron threads steeped in 3 TBS hot water)

1 (16 oz) can fava beans (or white beans of any kind)

4 cloves garlic – minced (or to taste)

olive oil

S&P

1/2 lemon

Basil or parsley as garnish (I happened to have red basil)

DIRECTIONS

Put the shrimp (if using) in a Ziplock bag or a bowl & squeeze the 1/2 lemon over them.  Add a glug or two of olive oil & some S&P and maybe a minced garlic clove or two.  Blend well.  Set aside.

Drain the fava beans & puree in a food processor.  Set aside.

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Hold each asparagus spear by the far ends & bend until they snap.  They will naturally break at the point that the spear is too tough to eat.  Cut into bite-sized pieces.

Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a stock pot.  Add the asparagus & some garlic & saute about 3 minutes over medium heat or until the asparagus is vibrant & softens a bit.  Set aside but keep the pan for re-use.

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Grill or pan-fry the shrimp until just pink.  Set aside.

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In a clean pan – heat the stock to just simmering & keep it there.  Add the saffron to this stock.

Heat 2 TBS olive oil in the asparagus pan.  Add the shallot (or onion) and saute until soft – about 3 minutes.  Add garlic & the rice & saute for about 2 minutes over medium-high heat – stirring constantly – until the rice is translucent at the edges.

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Add the wine (if using) & cook for a minute or so.  Then, add the stock in 1/2 to 1 cup increments, stirring almost constantly and allowing the liquid to be mostly absorbed before adding more.  You might need more or less stock – depending on the softness you like – but do not add so much that the rice is mushy.   Be sure to add enough broth, though, so that the risotto is creamy.

Add the asparagus & the cheese & the pureed beans.  Serve with grilled shrimp on top & with some chopped herbs.

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OK!   Onto another recipe that I could not post because I hate all the photos I took of it.  That is really the only reason – as it is quite tasty.

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That is my Watercress & Lemon Cream Stacenate (stracnar) Pasta.  It is the same pasta I made for this dish:

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That is Stracnar (Stracenate) Pasta with a Pan-Fried Cauliflower, Tomato & Clam Ragu using the labor-intensive but really pretty cavarola-boarded pasta.

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I don’t expect anyone to hunt down a cavarola board & make this stuff – so – just use bowtie pasta or something.

Watercress & Lemon Cream Pasta

INGREDIENTS

1/2 lb bow-tie pasta (or pappardelle or something)

4 oz cream cheese

1/2 cup ricotta

1/4 cup grated Parmesan (plus extra for garnish)

1 bunch watercress

Olive oil

2 garlic cloves – minced

juice & zest of 1 lemon

1/2 tsp salt

1 TBS pepper

1 tomato – diced (optional – but it would add nice color)

Parsley or basil or reserved watercress as garnish

DIRECTIONS

Wash the watercress & remove any large stems.  Chop it up.

Heat the olive oil in a pan & add the minced garlic.  Saute 1 minute & then add the cream cheese, ricotta, Parmesan, juice & zest of the lemon and the S&P.  Blend & heat through.

Cook the pasta.  Drain & toss with the lemon cream sauce, add the watercress & serve topped with chopped herbs & tomatoes (if using) and lots of ground pepper.

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And lastly – this dish – Ziplock Baggy Boiled Omelettes.

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I saw this posted on my friend Cheryl Patrick Van Allen’s Facebook page & tried it out immediately.   Basically – you take eggs & whatever else you want in your omelette & put it all in a resealable baggy.  Squeeze out the air, seal the bag & smoosh everything around until well-blended.

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Whether camping or just serving several folks that require different ingredients in their omelettes – this is an easy way to make a bunch of varied omelettes all at one go & in one pan of boiling water.  Just be sure to write everyone’s name on their bag.

Then – boil them for 13 minutes.  Be careful the plastic doesn’t melt on your pan – a problem that actually bothers me & is a main reason I didn’t post this as a stand-alone recipe.   Folks say the omelette slips out of the bag onto your plate – and it does – but mine slipped out & looked more like an eggy heart than an omelette.

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That isn’t very appetizing.  But – it is nothing a fork & herbs & some peppers cannot fix.

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The other reason I didn’t post this before is because of the controversy about boiling in the bags that are not meant for that task.  It seems that the plastic can leak chemicals etc into your food.  Eh – but that is true of every dish you ever zapped in the microwave in or on something plastic.  I hate microwaving anything because I believe it alters the food in such a way that your body cannot even identify it as food – but I have been known to succumb to the convenience occasionally.  Still – I try to put things (even things meant to be zapped in their packaging) onto paper or glass before the nuking.

So – there you have it – boiled baggy eggy weggies!  Try at your own risk!

You know what isn’t risky?  A bottle of smiley face wine!

Bon appetit!

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Saffron Cream Pasta with Cauliflower, Tomatoes & Chili Flakes (Vegan Option)

6 Comments

All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

~

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That photo is un-retouched & shot in natural light.  So – yes!  That pasta really IS that color!  Pretty to look at but with the delicate flavors of saffron and cauliflower – this is a delightful pasta dish.

I found this great saffron liquid at Super King for $7.

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That is a way cheaper option than saffron threads but saffron threads will be easier to find, I suspect.  I actually made this twice because the first time I made it – I made it with whole wheat fusilli & I didn’t like the photos.  This dish above was made with regular linguini.   The first time I made it, I used white wine & ghee (clarified butter).  The second time, I used regular butter & skipped the wine.  I think they tasted pretty much the same so I am going to post the one I made this morning.  There is only a tiny bit of the heavy cream per serving so do not be alarmed.  It isn’t as rich as you might fear.

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Saffron Cream Pasta with Cauliflower, Tomatoes & Chili Flakes

INGREDIENTS (for two very healthy servings)

1/2 lb dry pasta or your choice

1 small head cauliflower cut into bite-sized florets

2 large shallots – minced

2 tomatoes – diced

2 TBS ghee or butter (or vegan alternative)

1/2 cup heavy cream (or vegan alternative – almond milk should work fine)

1/4 cup dry white wine (optional)

1-2 TBS olive oil

1 generous pinch (1/2 a tsp or more) saffron threads steeped in 1/4 cup hot (not boiling) water OR 1 TBS (or more) saffron liquid from a bottle

Crushed red pepper to taste

Salt to taste

White pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Steam the cauliflower for about 5 minutes.  Set aside.

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Heat the olive oil over medium heat & saute the shallots until just soft but not browned.  If using wine – add it now & cook it off for about a minute.  Or just skip ahead.

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Add the ghee or butter and the heavy cream & the saffron.  Simmer over medium heat until it reduces by about half.  Add the tomatoes & the steamed cauliflower.

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Add salt & white pepper to taste.

Cook the pasta according to instructions, drain & add directly to the pan with the saffron sauce.  Combine thoroughly.  Serve with lots of crushed red pepper.

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NO CARB Cauliflower Risotto with Caramelized Carrots, Saffron & Toasted Anchovy Bread Crumbs

3 Comments

All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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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.

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PRINT THIS RECIPE

NO CARB Cauliflower Risotto with Caramelized Carrots, Saffron & Toasted Anchovy Bread Crumbs

INGREDIENTS
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)

DIRECTIONS

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.

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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.

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With the regular blade in your food processor, pulse the carrots into a near puree.

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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.

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