Mushroom & Lemon Cauliflower “Risotto”

surfs up

Training season is over. A Half Marathon and an Olympic Triathlon down… and I was ready for a break. With a fatigued body and verging on the edge of training burnout, it was high time for a weekend getaway, this time with as little physical activity as possible. We tossed up a trip to Oregon, Washington or California – the requisites were surf, sand and cool people.

ah, the sea
lighthouse on the point
surf of point loma

With friends-of-friends living in San Diego, we decided to prioritize the ‘cool people’ and visit with a couple strongly affiliated with New Zealand. The surf and sand was a bonus and we devoured our time on the water’s edge, embracing the salty lips, crunchy hair and absence of footwear. This time, our weekend didn’t involve hiking, photography (just the iPhone as you’ll notice), sightseeing or long bike rides (our trip two weeks prior was a sightseeing and foodie bike tour over Vancouver Island). We bonfired, shared philosophies and insights, ate well, witnessed electrical thunderstorms, lazed on white sand and forged friendships.

what sup?

There is much less structure to my life these days, with Jesse away for flight training and no huge goals coming up. Dinner, if not a quick omelette or stirfry, is a long, slow meal requiring dicing, squeezing, stirring. Therapeutic cooking at its best.

Mushroom Cauliflower 'Risotto'

Mushroom Cauliflower “Risotto”
Recipe from Camilla at Pantry Narrative

I love this risotto for its lightness, freshness and abundance of vegetable-nutrients! Although I love myself a good Arborio risotto, I’m enjoying this type of lighter fare while the weather is hot and my energy output is greatly reduced. As Camilla points out, this would accompany roasted chicken beautifully.

1 head cauliflower
10 portobello mushrooms, peeled and sliced (or equivalent)
2 Tbps butter
olive oil
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely diced
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup vegetable stock (plus more as needed)
Juice of 1 small lemon
1 small handful Parmesan cheese, freshly grated, plus extra for serving
handful of parsley, chopped
1/3 cup ricotta cheese
salt and pepper

Roughly chop the cauliflower and place the florets in a food processor. Process, scraping down as needed, until it resembles “rice,” – you may have to do it in a few batches. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat.  Add a lug of oil and  1 Tbsp of butter then add mushrooms to the pan, fry until browned. Remove from the pan.

In the same pan add a little more oil if necessary, add onion and cook, stirring often until translucent, about 3-4 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. De-glaze the pan with the wine, then add the stock and lemon juice and bring to a simmer. Add the cauliflower “rice” to the skillet and continue to stir until cauliflower is cooked and stock has been absorbed, adding more stock if necessary. Stir in the mushrooms, Parmesan, parsley and ricotta cheese. Season well (taste before adding salt as stock will make the risotto quite salty). Garnish with Parmesan and parsley, and enjoy!

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