Risotto is a classic Italian recipe, where rice and broth are cooked together, along with various other additions, to create a creamy dish that can be served with veggies for a vegetarian meal, or used as a side dish and served with meat or fish. But what if a person is following a grain free diet? Not a problem when you use cauli-rice. You just replace the rice that is normally called for with cauli-rice, add some pumpkin puree for a Fall-themed twist, and in about 20 minutes from start to finish, you're rewarded with yummy Grain Free Pumpkin Risotto.
It's time for my monthly post with the Secret Recipe Club, and I was assigned to the blog Manu's Menu. I've been a reader of Manuela's blog for quite awhile now. She shares the most delicious looking, authentic Italian dishes, along with a few not-so-Italian ones thrown in for good measure. I love her photography, that makes you want to reach out and take a bite of her delicious recipes. She was born and raised in Milan, Italy by Sicilian parents, and moved to Sydney, Australia in 2006 with her husband Clint, where they are raising two cute as a button daughters. One of the main goals of her blog is to clear up some of the misrepresentations of what real Italian food is, and to help us prepare authentic Italian dishes in our own home. She offers a lot more on her blog though, such as cooking and blogging tips, as well as beautiful photos of her world travels.
I enjoyed browsing through Manuela's recipes. She has a visual index, where you can look through all of her recipes by category, with pictures. I found so many recipes I wanted to try, such as Olive Schiacciate, Grilled Radicchio with Gorgonzola Sauce, and Salted Caramel Panna Cotta. I'm on a pumpkin kick right now though, so I really wanted to make something with pumpkin in it. I wasn't disappointed either. I did a search on her site, and was reward with quite a few to select from. I settled on her Pumpkin Risotto, because I've wanted to try my hand at risotto for some time, AND it had pumpkin in it!
I made a few small changes to adapt the recipe to my diet. I used cauli-rice instead of regular rice to make it grain free, substituted homemade pumpkin puree I had stored in the freezer for the fresh pumpkin, left the wine out, and reduced the vegetable stock, since I was using cauli-rice, which reduced the cooking time. While The resulting dish may not be authentic Italian cuisine anymore, it still turned out amazing! It's savory, but with a subtle sweet taste, that is set off perfectly with the addition of chopped green onion, and hulled hemp seeds I used as a garnish. They added a bit of texture and crunch, that was so good combined with the creaminess of the risotto.
Grain Free Pumpkin Risotto
1/2 head cauliflower
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 green onions, diced
1 cup vegetable stock
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, Romano and Asiago cheese blend
2 tablespoons butter
Sea salt to taste
Break the cauliflower up into florets and place in a food processor. Pulse until cauliflower is in rice-sized pieces. Don't over process it, leave a few bigger pieces throughout. (Cauliflower can also be hand-grated) Set aside.
Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add onion and saute until softened, and starting to become translucent.
Add riced cauliflower, along with stock to the pan and cover. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in pumpkin puree, replace cover, and allow to simmer for another five minutes, or until thickened, stirring a couple of times to make sure it doesn't stick. Don't overcook, you want the risotto to have a slight bite to it still.
Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese blend and butter until blended.
Add salt to taste, (I added a small pinch) and serve.