Friday, January 20, 2012

Roasted Cauliflower, Sage and Almond Risotto - Donna Hay

Donna Hay is an empire.She covers it all.  Think: The Essential NY Times Cookbook, or Martha Stewart. She is Australia's leading food editor and bestselling cookbook author.



(Photo from Donna Hay Biography)

Her meteoric rise as a food stylist and food editor at age 25 for Marie Claire is documented here. The wealth of her recipes are here. She is an equal-opportunity recipe developer - with recipes from around the globe that encompass small bites and full menus. 

Of course she has her detractors. If you are wildly successful, someone will detract. (Mozart had too many notes, Shakespeare had too many words, Meryl Streep has too many pauses.) "She's a food stylist, not a chef!" claim her critics. And so she is. She also has a feel for classic dishes done simply without an inordinate amount of ingredients that will break the bank. No wonder people love her - the recipes are accessible.


Donna Hay's output gave us a lot of choice for this week's Gourmet Women Game Changers. I chose to make her roasted cauliflower risotto. The "sea of white" seemed appropriate for January and as Minnesota has plunged into the North Pole zone (we are currently searching the sky for flying reindeer), a warming, comforting dish was required. Nothing eases winter's fury like risotto.


The problem with roasting the cauliflower first is - you nibble. There was not quite a head of cauliflower by the time I was stirring the risotto!

Roasted Cauliflower, Sage and Almond Risotto (from Donna Hay Website)
(Note I will give you my measurements - they are not exact equations! Simply what worked for me)

Ingredients
500 grams cauliflower, trimmed and chopped (I used one medium head)
2 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt and cracked pepper
40 grams (1/4 cup) chopped almonds
1 bunch of sage, leaves chopped
1.5 liters warmed chicken broth (I only needed 5 cups - use vegetable broth to keep it vegetarian)
60 grams butter (I used 2 tablespoons of Earth Balance Butter)
300 grams (1-1/2 cups) arborio rice
125 ml (1/2 cup) dry sherry (I used dry white wine)
40 grams (1/2 cup) freshly-grated Parmesan
100 grams (I only used 1/2 cup) Taleggio (I used a triple cream Brie) - sliced




Preparation


 Preheat oven to 220°C (425°F). Place the cauliflower, oil, salt and pepper on a baking tray and toss to coat. Roast for 15 minutes, add the almonds and half the sage and roast for a further 5–8 minutes or until golden and crisp. Set aside and keep warm.
  Place the stock in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes or until soft. Chop the remaining sage and add to the pan with the rice and sherry. Cook, stirring, for 1–2 minutes or until the sherry is absorbed. Gradually add the stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring continuously for 25–30 minutes or until the stock is absorbed and rice is al dente. Stir through Parmesan, salt and pepper and spoon into serving bowls. Top with Taleggio and the cauliflower mixture to serve. Serves 4. Unless you've nibbled quite a bit.




It lived up to its hype. The Taleggio (an earthier, aromatic version of Brie cheese from Northern Italy) which appears at my grocer's once a month was gone - but the triple cream Brie did the trick. And to tell you the truth - the dish is rich enough without the added cheeses, so if you want to go vegan - do it. You won't be disappointed. Slightly caramelized cauliflower, sage and almonds all add texture and flavors - the cheeses just add "oo la la" flair to the dish.

You can't go wrong with risotto and for all of you who declare,

"I'm not stirring for 35 minutes!"

Well, neither do I. I add the broth in 1/2 cupfuls, give it a few stirs, answer an e-mail or read my horror-scope and go back and give it a stir, add another 1/2 cupful, stir, chop an onion, come back and stir and then dance to Camera Obscura (the cat enjoys that)... you get the picture. I take frequent stirring breaks.


As for the recipes of Donna Hay - I will be back. She has the same sensibilities in her recipes that I look for - classic, unfussy with a surprising texture or flavor here and there.  And it's good for me to leave my food cocoon and continue to journey. Sometimes I remind myself that the title of my blog is "Journey of an Italian Cook" and not  "The Italian Cook has Arrived."


The verdict is very good when a dish encourages nibbling. Nibble and dance - to Honey in the Sun! Risotto and Camera Obscura brought the sun into my kitchen.


Please check out what the other bloggers are doing for Week 31 of Female Chef Gourmet Game Changers. And if you want to join in the fun, e-mail Mary at  One Perfect Bite. Mary started this delectable journey. 

Susan - The Spice GardenHeather - girlichef,
Miranda - Mangoes and ChutneyJeanette - Healthy Living
Kathleen - Gonna Want Seconds

41 comments:

Aarthi said...

Awesome recipe dear..U have made it perfectly..

Aarthi
http://yummytummy-aarthi.blogspot.com/

Kathy said...

This looks seriously delicious! I love anything with lots of veggies but they have to be the right veggies...like cauliflower! Very nice!

Katerina said...

I love risotto and this version, with cauliflower which by the way is a favorite of mine, looks very tasty and appetizing!

Susan Lindquist said...

This is a great post! I love the recipe, I love your adaptations and discussion of them, I love your honest critique of her and her work ... so glad I'm following your blog!

Catherine said...

Dear Claudia, It is o.k. to nibble on the cauliflower, it is healthy! Well, thank you for introducing me to this fine chef. I will look into her recipes. The dish looks very nice and pretty too. Blessings, Catherine xo

Sudha said...

Dear Claudia,
Loved reading your post so much!I am a great admirer of Donna Hay and love her style of 'Fast,Fresh and Simple' cooking.Her recipes are not only simple but fuss-free and flavorful too.The risotto is delicious and love the exuberant flavors of cauliflower and almonds - the perfect dish for a peaceful weekend lunch:)

Rosemary said...

The risotto is beautiful! I find myself nibbling on roasted cauliflower, too. Too easy to do! I once read a Donna May recipe for calzones in which she layered thin slices of potato on one side before filling. Never tried it, but sure thought it intirguing.

Jhonny walker said...

Hi there!

your kitchen was smelling awesome. I had to stop to say hi! I am Jhonny walker from around the food town. I love your risotto! bookmarked (almost like love at first sight) and going to be done soon :)

best
JW

The Mom Chef said...

I was blown away when I went through her magazines a few months ago. She is definitely a gem of a find. I adore risotto and think the time spent in front of the stove well worth it for the end result. This looks amazing. Absolutely and truly so.

Tina said...

i am very familiar with this lady of many talents! I have been on her site several times and there is a lot of tasty recipes there.
Roasted cauliflower is delicious, but the method of preparation here is something I do need to try. Delicious blend of ingredients. Thanks for sharing this and have a great weekend!

sophiesfoodiefiles said...

A lovely read this was! I agree, I absolutely love this woman, her books & her magazine too:) She also rocks & her new recipes on Tv rock too!

Her recipes never fail me & are inovative too, just like this white & alternative risotto! ;)

MMMMMM,....Have a great & warm weekend!! Cyber hugs to you! xxx

Cucina49 said...

I've never heard of her before, but I'm intrigued. This is a great-looking recipe--I should check for the reindeer here too!

Pegasuslegend said...

I would have nibbled on all that golden cauli too! This risotto is gorgeous in colo too great shots I love this food stylist!

Jeanette said...

I really like Donna Hay's recipes, all very straightforward and full of fresh ingredients. This looks like such a bowl of comfort!

Steve @ the black peppercorn said...

Love Donna Hay - She is great. We watch Masterchef Australia and she is a regular on that show. SHe is definitely a food stylist, but she does know food and you are right that her food is accessible. Great dish you have here!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Oh my, I would love this sea of white right now. never would I have considered cauliflower with risotto but I'm sold. I hear so much about Donna Hay but know little about her. thanks for educating me.

Alicia said...

Love roasted cauliflower...never had it with sage or in risotto. I'm making this soon! :)

Kristen said...

I could eat that as a meal. What a fabulous risotto. I wish I could find arborio in bulk. I think I could eat it every other day and never get sick of the possibilities.

Amy said...

This sounds wonderful! I make roasted cauliflower a lot, but have never thought to add it to risotto! The almonds are a nice addition as well :)!

Torviewtoronto said...

awesome recipe and post so many delicious flavours in this looks wonderful
thanks Claudia :)

Barbara said...

This looks wonderful, Claudia! It was difficult to choose a recipe from so many, wasn't it? Love your choice and there are so many great flavors in the dish!

Jeannie said...

I love cauliflowers and this version of yours looks really good! Cheese and cauliflowers sounds very flavorful!

Heather @ girlichef.com said...

Nibble, indeed...I couldn't resist! I do love this combo and can almost feel the comfort radiating through my screen. It looks scrumptious, Claudia :D

Kim said...

When I look at this risotto only one thing comes to mind: pleasure. This looks like such a pleasure to eat. The creaminess against all that texture with the cauliflower and the almonds.

P.S. I'd be nibbling on the cauliflower too.

Rebecca Subbiah said...

great risotto must try roasting cauliflower and her story fits in my my post today :-)

Candy said...

Wow, this looks good! Roasted cauliflower is one of my favorite veggies but I've never thought of adding it to another favorite, risotto.

Lizzy said...

Oh, boy, sage with cauliflower! I'm loving this idea...sounds so delicious!

tasteofbeirut said...

What a great idea for a risotto! I like the addition of a triple cream Brie at the end too!

Mary said...

This is something that is new to me.I've never had risotto made with these ingredients and now you've made me curious. This sounds delicious. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Fresh Local and Best said...

This is such a unique dish for risotto. I love the textures and the addition of cauliflower and sage.

Mary said...

Hi Claudia, Just jumping back in for a second. I'm an active volunteer in church, civic and political organizations. So, yes, there are way too many pot-lucks in my schedule. This is a small community that is not terribly affluent and whether I enjoy them or not these suppers are part of the social fiber here. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Reeni said...

I roasted cauliflower the other night to use the next night and we ended up eating it all! So here I am starting over. It really is irresistible when roasted - I know this risotto has to be insanely good! I had no idea who Donna Hay was but I think I love her now.

Beth said...

This looks so good. I loved your admission about stirring risotto. The fear of being glued to the stove for half an hour has always kept me from making it myself. But after reading about your frequent breaks, I realized that risotto may be for me after all!

FOODESSA said...

Donna certainly has the special touch in her kitchen...a great addition to anyone's culinary journey.
Thanks for sharing a little piece of her cooking as well as yours ;O)

Adventure on and flavourful wishes,
Claudia

Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. said...

This looks so good, Claudia! I love roasted cauliflower! The sage must add such great flavor!

Magic of Spice said...

Fantastic post and tribute to Donna Hay! This is a wonderful recipe and it looks amazing!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

What an exotic way to make cauliflower! It must taste so delicious. i enjoyed learning about Donna Hay.

Angie's Recipes said...

That's a bowl of comfort and deliciousness! I have never risotto prepared with roasted cauliflowers..

Nami | Just One Cookbook said...

There is roasted cauliflowers in here! Yum! I love risotto, but never had one with cauliflower in it. Looks so yummy!

Nami | Just One Cookbook said...

There is roasted cauliflowers in here! Yum! I love risotto, but never had one with cauliflower in it. Looks so yummy!

Roz said...

Claudia,
I've never roasted cauliflower yet, possibly because I love it so much simply raw! But wow, with this risotto with Talleggio Italian cheese ( I love that variety!) it has to be so delicious! I must, must try this for a treat after I lose my foodie blogging weight! I like how you described it that "It put the sun in your window!" You are so clever with words!