Cauliflower Cheese Risotto

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’m addicted to risotto at the moment (see my Recipes page for more delicious risotto ideas). Something about the rich flavours and gooey texture is endlessly comforting, and I’m constantly thinking of new flavours to experiment with. I had a bit of a lightbulb moment when I last made a roast dinner (cauliflower cheese is an essential part of any roast, as far as I’m concerned) and wondered if the earthy flavour of cauliflower would work in a risotto with a drizzle of truffle oil and plenty of cheddar cheese – and it was fabulous. Try it yourself and let me know what you think.

About 200g cauliflower (I bought a bag of florets and froze the rest, so I didn’t have to use up the rest of a huge cauliflower straight away!)
1 onion
200g risotto rice
A large glass of white wine
A couple of pints of vegetable stock
Olive oil
Salt and black pepper
Truffle oil (I'm a big fan of Truffle Hunter products at the moment)
Plenty of cheddar cheese

Serves 2, generously

Start by preparing the vegetables – with the cauliflower, cut off the woodiest parts of the stem, and then finely chop the rest. Peel and dice the onion. Place a large saucepan on a medium heat with a generous scoop of butter and a drizzle of olive oil, and once the butter starts to melt, add the vegetables to the pan. You want them to sizzle gently and soften, but not gain any colour – turn the heat down if the onions start catching at all.

Once the onions have softened and become translucent, pop in a bit more butter, and when it’s melted, add the rice. Let it fry for a couple of minutes, stirring so that the rice doesn’t stick, and then turn the heat up a bit and add the white wine – it should hiss and bubble, and release a lovely boozy aroma. While it bubbles, prepare the stock – you won’t need it all, but it’s better to make plenty so you don’t run out.

When the wine has mostly disappeared, turn the heat down to low and start adding the stock a bit at a time, stirring gently all the while. Don’t add any more until the previous ladleful has been absorbed.

Once you’ve used up about two thirds of the stock, have a taste and see if the rice is cooked. You should also be able to see the grains getting plumper and not absorbing as much liquid. Once it’s done, take the pan off the heat and add a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper, a drizzle of truffle oil (don’t go overboard, as the flavour is pretty powerful), a big handful of grated cheddar and a bit more butter. Stir to combine everything, then put the lid on the pan and leave it for a moment while you lay the table – with the butter and cheese oozing between the rice, the texture will become gloriously creamy. Serve up a bowlful and scoff it while it’s hot – beautiful comfort food.