Cauliflower Risotto

A week or so ago I came across a recipe for Cauliflower Risotto in Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Italy cookbook.   I hadn’t noticed it before, I’ve only had the cookbook for about 5 years …… Anyway as alluded to in my cauliflower post this is my version of Jamie’s recipe.

Cauliflower Risotto

  • 3oog Risotto Rice
  • 150ml dry white wine, dry vermouth or verjuice*
  • About a litre of vegetable (or chicken if not worried about being vegetarian) stock – boiling in a saucepan.
  • 1 cauliflower – separated in florets and the stalk finely chopped
  • 3 sticks celery finely chopped
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tblspns olive oil
  • 100g parmesan cheese grated
  • a handful of parsley leaves finely chopped
  • A few shavings of parmesan to serve
  • Salt and pepper


  • 100g stale bread
  • 1 large or 3 small medium heat chillies
  • 1 tblspn olive oil

To make the crumb: Whizz all the crumb ingredients in a food processor until it looks like course breadcrumbs.  Heat a frypan (the oil you added earlier should be enough to fry it) and fry the crumb on a medium heat until brown and crispy.

You can add what ever else you like to this crumb – anchovies as Jamie did, some crispy fried bacon bits as I did to appease my meat loving partner, more herbs or simply as it is (which I preferred as it added texture but didn’t distract at all from the cauliflower flavour of the dish).

To make the risotto:  Add the cauliflower florets to the pan with the hot stock in it. (They will cook with the stock and are mashed into the rice when you add each ladle full of stock)

Heat the oil and gently fry the cauliflower stalk, onion and celery until soft.  Add the garlic and fry for another couple of minutes.  Add the rice and stir for another minute or two.

Pour in the verjuice or wine.  Turn down the heat to low and cook, stirring all the time, until the rice has absorbed the liquid.  Pour in a ladle full of hot stock (with some of the cauliflower florets in it), stir while cooking until the rice has absorbed the stock.  When you are stirring mash the cauliflower florets into the rice.  Add a second ladle full of stock and florets and stir and mash while cooking until the rice has absorbed the stock.  Continue in this manner until either the stock has gone or the rice has reached your desired risotto consistency ** (if you run out of stock before your rice has fully cooked and don’t have more stock then just add boiling water).   If using vermouth add it just before the rice has cooked.

Stir through the finely chopped parsley and the grated parmesan.  Season with salt and pepper.  Remove from heat.  Serve topped with crumb and shaved parmesan.

* When cooking for the kids I often substitute verjuice for white wine – in some dishes I actually prefer the flavour the verjuice brings and I do think it works particularly well in risottos.  Equally if you have never made a risotto using vermouth I would give that a try as well  – especially adding it at the end of the cooking time rather than the beginning.

** I like my risottos creamy and for the rice grains to be whole, to have resistance when bitten but not to be chalky at all.  Incidentally I have to say I think that al dente must be one of the most misunderstood terms in cooking in Australia and frankly is all too often used as an excuse for undercooked rice – rant over!


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9 Responses to Cauliflower Risotto

  1. Mark Willis says:

    I also think that risotto needs to be served quite “loose” – not sloppy, but it definitely shouldn’t be possible to mound it up vertically like some TV chefs would have us do.

    • Liz says:

      Absolutely! Risotto towers are definitely not for me – nor is adding cream at the end which I have also seen TV chefs do – too rich for my blood anyway.

  2. Hip, hip hooray!!! Thank you! 🙂 We will certainly be giving this one a try.

  3. Kirstie says:

    This was so yummy. Didn’t have any wine or verjuice so used caramelized white balsamic. The sweetness worked well I think. Eleanor (7 months) scoffed the lot. Couldn’t get Audrey to eat it. Bloody terrible twos. Will be trying the pakoras with the remains of our monster farmers market cauli. Hopefully the fried factor will entice the toddler.

    • Liz says:

      OOOO I have never tried caramelized white balsamic – nice idea. I have the reverse problem – the older eats or at least tries most things and the younger picks at everything usually before throwing it on the floor (although funnily enough he did eat this risotto). Frankly the terrible twos seem to have arrived at our house a little early. Unfortunately I have to report the fried factor didn’t help the pakoras failing my particular toddler test – I reckon dipped in honey and he might have tried them though……in his world sweet is everything.

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  5. L says:

    I missed this when you originally posted it, and now I’ve used up all my caulis. Might have to buy one.

    • Liz says:

      I really like it I have to say – I do think it needs the garnishy bits, otherwise the cauliflower flavour gets a bit monotonous.

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