If you’ve got a cauliflower with lots of leaves, this is a great recipe to use them up! I used about half and half leaves and head which worked very well, and I’ve used celery as the base, but you could easily substitute onion or leek instead if you like. The vegetables are blitzed in a food processor until chopped very finely, which gives the risotto a lovely texture.
It’s a soothing, delicate risotto with just a hint of saffron, and bay as the main herbal flavour. It’ll be gorgeous with a salad of bitter leaves and walnuts.
And it’s also ever so easy to make!
makes 3 to 4 servings
3 sticks of celery
175 g arborio rice
2 tbsp olive oil
400 g cauliflower, with leaves and stems if they’re in good condition
650 ml hot water
a small pinch of saffron
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp dried thyme
salt and white pepper
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil, optional
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees c.
Break the celery sticks up a bit and then blitz them in a food processor until very finely chopped. Heat the oil in an ovenproof casserole pan on a low heat and cook the celery for around six minutes until it’s dried out a little and softened.
Blitz the cauliflower next, again breaking up the leaves and head a bit. It’s fine if there are some little florets left.
Add the rice to the celery and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes to coat the rice.
Add the cauliflower, bay and thyme to the pan, and then 600 ml of the water and the saffron. Stir well. Cover the pan and transfer to the oven.
Cook for 20 minutes and then give it a good mix, adding the last 50 ml of water.
Cook for a further 10 to 15 minutes, by which time the rice should be lovely and soft.
Season to taste with salt and white pepper and stir through the basil if using.