Yvette van Boven's Baked Risotto with Cauliflower, Gruyere and Crisp Bread Crumbs


It's been almost a month since I've posted and lots of things have happened during my little hiatus: one pope resigned and a new pope was appointed (black smoke, white smoke...), Hugo Chavez departed planet Earth, we continue to live in the fastest warming period since the dawn of civilization, and then there's that pesky sequestration. On a personal note, I met Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen fame who spoke at the Tattered Cover bookstore here in Denver. And in celebration news, Omar, our beloved Rottweiler, turned 15 years old (which is about 105 in human years, though I've been reassured by Dr. Feldman our veterinarian, that Omar's got the inner workings of a 10 year old canine, so that's good news). Otis began to write words other than his name and little Theo greatly improved his vocabulary, which is now somewhere around (an impressive) 100 words. 
Then there was that horrendous stomach virus that came just in time for our closing and subsequent move. But we made it and we're settling in to our first (and likely only) home. My OCD has returned with a vengeance (my new label maker- for all those clear storage bins- is en route) and I'm trying to be hyper-organized in our new space. Oh, and we also entertained our very first house guests. Whew, I'm exhausted just typing this up.   
A few days after moving into our new home we got a little snow storm. But in typical Colorado fashion, about 48 hours later, the temperatures climbed above 70 degrees. I quickly realized that spring is fast approaching and winter is almost a distant memory, so I decided to publish this recipe post-haste. It comes from Home Made Winter, a fantastic cookbook that I wish I'd discovered a wee bit earlier in the season. The cookbook is written by Yvette van Boven, the author behind the wildly popular Home Made. In addition to fantastic recipes, Yvette also has awesome illustrations and collages. It's a very appealing cookbook. 
I've been cooking my way through Yvette's vegetarian recipes and kicked things off with this baked risotto. I had a few already-open bags of Arborio rice -- which I now feel perfectly comfortable cooking with after a long string of mushy mishaps. I wanted to use some pantry items (i.e. rice) and I'm always in the mood for cauliflower, especially when it's combined with cheese and wine...so the decision was an easy one.   
I loved the simplicity of the dish and the stick-to-your-bones feeling from the risotto. And I got to use my cast iron skillet which has been sitting in a cupboard collecting dust (until now). 
I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. Just be sure to add a few hefty pinches of salt and pepper. 
This is the perfect way to say goodbye to winter!
xo,
Batya



Baked Risotto with Cauliflower, Gruyere & Crisp Bread Crumbs
(Printed with Yvette's permission, from Home Made Winter)
Hardly any work and done in a snap. 
Ingredients
1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 small onions, diced
1 clove garlic, sliced
7 ounces Arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
2 1/4 cups vegetable broth
7 ounces Gruyere, grated
2 or 3 slices dry white bread (I left mine in a paper bag for two days to dry it out.)
I added a few hefty pinches of salt and pepper. Then I tasted it to see if I thought it was enough.
Preparation 
Boil cauliflower in water for 10 minutes, until al dente. Drain.
Heat the oven to 350F. 
Heat the oil in a cast-iron skillet. Add the onion and sauté for about 5 minutes, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, then add the rice. Sauté all of this for another 2 minutes or so. Add the wine and then pour in the broth. Bring to a boil. Stir in the cauliflower and cheese. Put a lid on the skillet.
Put the skillet in the oven and bake the risotto for 25 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed.
Grind the dry bread in a food processor or mince with a knife.
Uncover the skillet about 5 minutes before the risotto is done (Watch out, hot!) and sprinkle the bread crumbs on top.
Bake, uncovered, until browned, then serve.