Before you look up my email to inform me of the proper definition of risotto...
I am aware that there are people who have pet peeves concerning the nomenclature of foods, myself included (I cringe when I hear "shrimp scampi" or "chai tea"). Risotto, in particular is a hotbed of controversy and we have all heard the arguments:
"it is not risotto unless it's made with rice"
Or, more specifically:
"it is not risotto unless it's made with Arborio/Carnaroli/Vialone Nano rice"
If an artist draws a foot and calls it "painting of a hand", don't we grant him poetic license?
Besides, titling this post "cauliflower cooked in the manner of risotto" wasn't cutting it.
Now that we've established that there is cauliflower and not rice in this dish, you may ask,"what's the point?" While neither groundbreaking or revelatory, cooking cauliflower in this way brings out the flavor and textural qualities that I like about this vegetable. The initial saute with shallots in butter infuses it with sweet,nutty flavor, then the gradual addition of liquid allows the smaller bits to soften and break down, while the larger bits stay firm.The addition of cheese contributes the characteristic creaminess that we associate with risotto.
Call it whatever you like...I'll call it good.
4 Tblsps of butter
2 shallots, minced
1 medium head of cauliflower, root end trimmed and washed
salt and pepper
1-2 cups of liquid such as water or stock
4 oz. of blue cheese or any creamy cheese that will melt down
In a skillet or large shallow pan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Stir in the shallots and cook slowly until translucent. While the shallot is cooking, roughly chop the cauliflower into 1" pieces. Working in 2-3 batches, chop the
cauliflower in a food processor in short pulses until roughly the size of grains of rice (there will be a combination of very fine pieces as well as larger pieces). Transfer the cauliflower into the pan with the shallots and turn the heat up to medium-high. Saute, while stirring, until it begins to brown. Season with salt and pepper and add 1/2 cup of liquid, scraping any browned bits off the bottom of the pan. When liquid has nearly evaporated, add another 1/2 cup and turn heat down until liquid maintains a slow simmer. Continue stirring occassionaly, adding small amounts of liquid as necessary, until cauliflower reaches the desired consistency. Remove from heat. Crumble the cheese over the top and stir in until melted and creamy. Adjust the seasoning to taste.