The first time I served this I questioned my husband after dinner. “What did you think of the faux risotto?” He replied, “What was faux about it?”
I called it faux risotto because it had no rice. This is an easy dish to make and if you like risotto, it’s almost as good as the real deal but with, of course, fewer calories. Usually I make it with mushrooms, adding sliced mushrooms that have been quickly sautéed in olive oil before serving. If you use porchini mushrooms the flavor is even more authentically like risotto; saute fresh porchini or soak dried in stock for about 30 minutes and add to the dish before cooking the cauliflower.
Here’s the main ingredients: Cauliflower, Parmesan cheese, chicken or veggie stock, salt, pepper and olive oil.
Remove the stem and core and cut the raw cauliflower into large pieces.
Chop the cauliflower in a food processor in several small batches using quick bursts on and off so that you don’t end up chopping it too fine. Aim for pieces slightly larger than rice, and you’ll get a good mix of small pieces that don’t turn into mush. Place them in a pan with about a cup of broth. Cover with a lid, bring to a simmer and then turn the burner down low as you would for rice. Stir every seven to ten minutes to cook evenly.
Remove the lid when the cauliflower is almost cooked – 15 to 25 minutes depending on your how hot the burner is. If you run low on broth while cooking add some more or some white wine. The cauliflower should be soft and taste fully cooked when it’s done, but not overdone and mushy. At that point remove the lid and stir on slightly higher heat to evaporate any excess liquid at the bottom of the pan. Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the grated cheese and any other flavorings desired. I like minced parsley as a garnish.