November has been a very busy month. With family, work, and social commitments, I have had very little time to work on any new recipes for my blog. It also happens to be Diabetes Awareness Month – a very important time in the medical community, and a cause that is close to my heart.
My close friend Pam Durant, a strong advocate within the Diabetes community, has a voice that transcends medical language and the vernacular that can be confusing for those that have not been touched by the disease. As a mother of a son with Type 1 Diabetes, Pam has taught me more about the intricacies that go into managing the condition than I could have ever learned through a book, the internet, or Doctor Google. Her Facebook and Instagram accounts for her company Diapoint ME, offer a practical discussion about life with diabetes and an insight into the challenges and triumphs that both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetics face.
In support of Diabetes Awareness Month, I have come up with a low-carb recipe that is healthy, easy to prepare, and above all, fabulously delicious. Ironically, it was at Pam’s Thanksgiving dinner last week that I first tried cauliflower “risotto”, where shredded cauliflower florets are used instead of Arborio rice to make this traditional Italian dish. Although the risotto is a blank canvas that can handle a multitude of different flavor combinations, I’ve added blanched asparagus to enhance the color and vitamin content of the dish.
Cauliflower Risotto with Asparagus puree (serves 2 mains or 4 sides)
- 1 head cauliflower (about 400 grams), stem removed
- 1 bunch asparagus (about 250 grams), woody stalks removed
- 1 bowl of ice water
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- ½ cup white wine or the equivalent of water mixed with half a lemon
- 3 to 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock, kept hot on a burner
- 1 teaspoon salt (salt will vary depending on the saltiness of your stock, taste as you go)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ¾ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- An extra teaspoon of butter to finish the risotto (optional)
Grate the cauliflower into small grains similar in size to couscous with a box grater OR pulse in a food processor. This is your risotto. Set aside.
Place the asparagus into a small pan, and cover with water by about an inch. Bring to a boil, and let the asparagus simmer over medium heat until it is cooked through, about 3 minutes.
Strain the asparagus, and quickly plunge into your bowl of ice water.Cut the asparagus spears off the stems. Purée the stems (not the spears) with a fat pinch of salt. Set aside the purée and spears while you get on with the risotto.
Heat butter and olive oil in a pan large enough to accommodate the expanding cauliflower.
Add the onion and sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until the onion is soft. Sprinkle over a pinch of salt to keep the onion from browning.
Add the cauliflower “risotto” and stir. Add the white wine.
When most of the wine has been absorbed into the cauliflower, start adding your hot stock, about one quarter cup at a time, allowing most of the liquid to be absorbed before adding the next quarter cup.
Keep stirring the “risotto” in figure eight motions with a wooden spoon until you have a creamy consistency and the cauliflower is cooked through. This should take between 20-25 minutes. The risotto should be slightly wet.
Add most of the Parmiggiano (reserve some for garnish) and a little bit of butter if desired and stir through.
Stir in the asparagus spears and the purée. Divide among serving bowls and add additional Parmiggiano on top of your risotto. Bon Appétit!