Sunday, 8 January 2012

Cauliflower, saffron and gruyere risotto


1/3 cauliflower, 2 cups risotto rice, pinch saffron, 30g gruyere, 1 pint vegetable stock, 1/4 leek, butter.
Serves: 4 Preparation: 30 minutes

Saffron is an incredibly complex flavour - the scent makes me think of rusting iron and sweetpeas and it works so, so well with cauliflower which has a musky, sweet flavour when cooked well (overcooked it becomes sulphuric and bitter) and really contrasts with the nutty, caramel tones of the gruyere.
All risottos (no matter what the ingredients) can be made in 3 simple stages. The first is called tostatura - coating the rice in fat, the second involves cooking off some alcohol and the third involves releasing the starch from the rice one ladle of stock at a time. 

1) Prepare the cauliflower by removing the leaves and slicing the stem to the base. Slice the cauliflower into thirds and then cut one piece into thick slices, and then chunks.

2) Finely dice the leek and sautee in a little butter until soft. Add the cauliflower, risotto rice and stir until the rice becomes transparent, revealing a white dot in the centre and pour in a glug of vermouth.

2) Once the alcohol cooks off, add the first ladle of stock and stir through.

3) Continue adding the stock to the risotto, one ladle at a time, adding the saffron to the last ladle of stock. 

5) Stir through the grated gruyere, finish with freshly grated black pepper and serve.

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