Due to a few requests for the side dish that went well with the Balsamic Glazed Filet and Radicchio dinner at link: http://lisakramerartlifestyle.blogspot.com/2011/02/reduced-balsamic-glaze-on-beef-filet.html (or it is simply the recipe beneath this one as you scroll down); here is the recipe for the risotto.
The flavors of the radicchio can be described as spicy or bitter, which is why sugar and the sweet acidity of the balsamic made that meat dish pop!
The risotto is a creamy starch that takes on a nutty flavor with the addition of almonds and their crunch. However, what makes this dish pop is that the roasted cauliflower takes on a smoky flavor from the roasting process. This meal is a flavor explosion! You will be dipping for seconds. ;-)
Risotto can be tricky; it is simply a matter of timing. So, again I stress the need for a kitchen timer. Risotto is not an ingredient you can take shortcuts with; it needs time to absorb each ingredient in a process. This is why some people think only chiefs can cook risotto. If you follow the steps with a timer, you will be amazed at how creamy this dish can be.—If is not really that difficult; you just have to pay attention to the grain. ;-)
Cauliflower is a very versatile vegetable that once you start using it, you will find it fast becoming a staple side dish to many of your meals. It is perfect for roasting!
1 head cauliflower, florets cut into ½ inch pieces for the topping
3 Tbl extra-virgin olive oil
Chopped stems to mix with the risotto on the stove, not to be roasted in the oven with the florets.
Sea Salt and freshly ground pepper
¼ C sliced almonds
1 finely chopped large onion
1 ½ C Arborio short-grain Italian rice (or short-grain rice vialone nano or pkg that says risotto)
2 smashed and minced garlic cloves
½ C dry wht wine
3 C’s low-sodium chicken broth
2 Tbl unsalted butter
4 oz. (1 ½ C) grated or finely chopped Italian fontina cheese
½ C roughly chopped fresh parsley
1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
2. Toss the cauliflower florets with 1 Tbl olive oil on a baking sheet. Spread in a single layer and season pepper and with salt like you would French fries. Roast on upper oven rack, 5-10 min’s, you have to watch it get just a bit browned at edges.
Pictured: a variation of golden and brown raisins can be added to the cauliflower to add a touch of sweet to the roasted mixture. Play and see what your family likes the best.
3. Then add the almonds and roast about 5 min’s more, until almonds are roasted, but not burnt, not dark brown. This step is a much watch closely process. I set my timer at the 5 min mark and then watch close; nuts can burn quick.
4. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 Tbls olive oil in a Dutch oven (large ovenproof saucepan with a lid) over high heat. Add the onion and cauliflower stems and cook, stirring, until the onion is translucent, about 3 min’s.
5. Add the rice and garlic and cook, stirring, 2 min’s.
6. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until evaporated, 1 min.
7. Add 3 C’s broth, 2 C’s water and 1 tsp salt; cover and bring to a boil.
8. Transfer the pot to the lower oven rack and bake until the rice is tender, about 15 min’s.
9. Remove the rice from the oven and add the butter, fontina and parsley, stirring vigorously until the risotto is creamy, 1 to 2 min’s. At this point you want to serve immediately; you want the parsley to stay bright green, not over cooked and bland in color.
10. Serve family style in a decorated bowl, or divide among bowls, topping with the roasted cauliflower and almond mixture.