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Broiled Cauliflower Risotto


Broiled Cauliflower Risotto

This broiled cauliflower risotto might just be the most comforting dish after mac & cheese. It’s rich and cheesy, and the chili kick makes it stand out.

Broiled Cauliflower Risotto //

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Cauliflower is one of my favorite vegetables, and I think it’s an underrated one too. It’s cheap and wonderfully versatile: you can turn it into the creamiest soups or the crunchiest salads. You can boil it, puree it, grill it, roast it, and broil it. You can also add it to curries and pasta to add some bulk and beef up the nutrient count. The way you prepare cauliflower gives it its own unique personality and beautifully complements the ingredients it shares the stage with.

Cauliflower also plays a central role in some of my favorite, ultra-comforting dishes. Cauliflower gratin would be a strong contender to be my last dish on earth, as would cauliflower mac and cheese. But my ultimate cauliflower dish is this broiled cauliflower risotto. Crunchy-tender broiled cauliflower combined with ultra-cheesy risotto and some chili flakes for an added kick? I’m in heaven.

Broiled Cauliflower Risotto //

Risottos are feared by many because they are believed to be difficult and to take a long time to make, but it’s an undeserved reputation. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to stay glued to the hob when you make risotto. In fact, the reason why risotto gets so creamy is because the short-grain rice used for making risotto contains a lot of starch, which is slowly released throughout the cooking process. This is why you need to stir risotto once in a while, to make sure that that starch is released to create that irresistible texture, but there’s no need to stir it continuously—once every few minutes is just fine.

Creamy risotto, a blank canvas for fresh ingredients and flavors //

You won’t need long to make risotto either: once your ingredients are prepped and ready, cooking the cauliflower risotto—from sautéing the vegetables to adding the final ladle of broth—should take no more than 20 minutes. A bit of multitasking helps you optimize the process, too: when I make this risotto, I mince the shallot and dice the celery, measure up the rice, then start cooking right away. While the vegetables cook, I bring the stock to a boil, then use the risotto’s cooking time to broil the cauliflower and grate the cheese. That way, there’s no time wasted!

Broiled Cauliflower Risotto //

Still think risotto is difficult to make? Think again. No special techniques need to be mastered to make risotto. All you have to do is learn a basic recipe and know how to tell when the rice is al dente: grains should be plump but not mushy. Like pasta, it should be soft yet still retain some texture when you bite into it.

Once you master the basic risotto routine, you’ll find it really easy to turn out any risotto recipe that comes your way. From elegant corn and crab risotto, to super-fresh green pea risotto, to hearty sausage risotto—a world of deliciousness awaits. But start your risotto-making journey with this incredibly easy, scrumptious broiled cauliflower risotto recipe: I have a feeling you’ll fall head over heels in love with it at first bite, just like I did several years ago.

Helpful Tips for Making Cauliflower Risotto

My golden risotto-making rule: The very best ingredients make the very best risotto 

As is often the case with simple, Italian-inspired dishes, using the very best ingredients you can get your hands on or afford makes the biggest difference in terms of the flavor of your final dish.

In this cauliflower risotto, I encourage you to use low-sodium broth, or even use homemade broth if you have some on hand, as it most likely will impart a softer, milder flavor to the risotto.

Also, use quality risotto rice for the creamiest textureArborio, Carnaroli, or Vialone Nano are all good picks—and please, please, please, only use Parmigiano-Reggiano as your cheese of choice. Learn why Parmigiano-Reggiano is my cheese of choice for most risotto, but especially for this rich broiled cauliflower risotto, below!

Carnaroli rice, a high-quality rice variety used to make risotto //

When you make risotto, don’t skimp on Parmigiano-Reggiano

Parmigiano-Reggiano has a sharp, nutty, salty flavor that lends a ton of flavor and an unforgettable creaminess to risotto. No need to add extra butter or cream to your risotto when you use the real stuff! Authentic Parmigiano-Reggiano is controlled under a Denominazione d’Origine Protetta (protected designation of origin), which means it has to be produced in a specific way in specific regions of Italy to be awarded the name. Authentic Parmigiano-Reggiano has a stamped rind, is aged at least 12 months, and is usually labeled with its original Italian name (as opposed to just “parmesan.”) Yes, Parmigiano-Reggiano is more expensive than cheese products labeled parmesan, but you don’t need a lot to make your dishes extra special. Save it for recipes that make the most of its unique flavor, such as this cauliflower risotto!

Parmigiano Reggiano, an Italian cheese with a inimitable sharp, nutty, salty flavor //
Photo: Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano Reggiano

How to Scale Up this cauliflower risotto recipe to serve more guests

Most risotto recipes serve 4 to 6, with ingredient quantities that are hard to split into halves or thirds. This has always annoyed me because I usually make risotto for 2 people. So I’m writing all my risotto recipes to serve 2, which means the math is easier to scale up the ingredients to serve 4 or 6 guests. Note that this cauliflower risotto recipe produces a generous 2-serving yield—you could stretch it to 3 servings if this dish is part of a more elaborate menu that includes appetizers and sides.



Broiled Cauliflower Risotto //

Broiled Cauliflower Risotto

This broiled cauliflower risotto might just be the most comforting dish after mac& cheese. It's rich and cheesy, and the chili kick makes it stand out.
Prep Time:10 minutes
Cook Time:20 minutes
Total Time:30 minutes
Servings 2 servings


For the Broiled Cauliflower

For the Risotto

To Serve


  • For the broiled cauliflower: Preheat the oven to broil and set a rack in the upper third of the oven (do not place the rack at the highest position.) Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Lightly oil the aluminum foil.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the cauliflower florets, olive oil, salt, and crushed red pepper. Spread the cauliflower mixture over the baking sheet and broil for 10 minutes, or until the cauliflower is browned in spots. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  • For the risotto: In a saucepan set over medium heat, bring the broth to a slow simmer. Lower the heat, cover, and keep warm.
  • In a large saute pan or a cast-iron braiser set over medium-low heat, melt the butter in the olive oil. Add the celery and shallot and cook, stirring, until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the risotto rice and stir for 2 minutes, until the grains are translucent around the edges. Add the wine and stir vigorously while the wine is bubbling up, scraping down the bottom of the pan to loosen the caramelized bits. Simmer until the wine is fully absorbed.
  • Add 1 ladleful of the broth and simmer, stirring from time to time, until the broth is almost completely absorbed. Continue adding broth, one ladleful at a time, allowing each ladle to be absorbed before adding more.
  • When there's about ½ cup (125 ml) of broth left, stir in the broiled cauliflower, saving a few florets to garnish each serving, if desired. Stir for a minute to reheat the cauliflower. Add ¼ cup (60 ml) broth, then stir in the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Stir until the cheese is fully melted and incorporated. Taste the risotto and adjust the seasoning if needed. Stir in the remaining broth. The risotto should now be loose and super creamy. Cover and turn off the heat. The risotto can stand for about 5 minutes but should be served as soon as possible for the best texture.
  • SERVING: Serve the broiled cauliflower risotto in warm bowls, then garnish each serving with saved cauliflower florets, fresh thyme leaves, drizzle of flavorful extra-virgin olive oil, and a pinch of crushed red pepper, if desired. Serve immediately.
  • STORAGE: This broiled cauliflower risotto is best enjoyed within minutes of being made. If you do have leftovers, refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 days. To reheat, transfer to a nonstick skillet, add a couple tablespoonfuls of broth or water and warm up over medium-low until the risotto is loose and hot. Serve immediately.
  • MAKE IT VEGETARIAN: Substitute vegetable stock.

Did you make this?

Tell me how you liked it! Leave a comment or take a picture and tag it with @foodnouveau on Instagram.

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Author: Marie Asselin

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes


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Recipe Rating

  1. 5 stars
    Wow, this recipe looks super delicious and it looks very flavorful! I cant wait to give this a go, thank you for sharing this recipe!

  2. 5 stars
    This was way more enjoyable than I thought it’d be! We actually loved it. ;) Thanks for the great recipe!

  3. 5 stars
    Cauliflower is such a versatile vegetable and I love roasting it but I never thought to put it on risotto! It sounds delicious, I can’t wait to give it a try later this week.

  4. Excellent post! I am a firm believer that everyone should know how to make risotto. It’s really not that difficult once you have the basics covered (and this is the perfect ‘how-to’ post!). I’m not exactly sold on the cauliflower but I do love my veggies with a little extra colour on them so I will definitely give this a try.

  5. 5 stars
    I love cauliflower but have never made risotto with it. What a great and delicious idea. I love roasted veggies. This will be a hit with the family.

  6. Made this a few times from Oliver’s 20 Minute Meals app a while ago, it’s absolutely amazing! I lost the app for now, so thank you for this! The photos are great, and the measurements more familiar. And I now have a better understanding of how the rice should be cooked.


  7. I just want to add to my last French comment, so every followers of this blog read this: Marie knows how beginner I am in the kitchen…and I just told her that I succeeded with a risotto recipe. It means if I can do it: YOU CAN DO IT :)

    • Melanie, Mr. T shouldn't have doubted you, red wine risotto is a classic! With mushrooms, no doubt it was delicious. I'm gonna try it next time :)

  8. Dudette,tu me connais en cuisine…eh bien je masterise le risotto! En pleine semaine et j'ai même osé le faire avec du vin rouge…mon chum était sceptique à voir la couleur mais il n'en revenait pas comme c'était bon! Un simple risotto aux champignons et vin rouge…qui l'eut cru! Maintenant que je me sens en confiance je vais essayer ta recette bientôt ;)