Cauliflower-Cheddar Oven Risotto with Sauteed Chicken

10 01 2014

I do enjoy making traditional risotto because like any other labor-intense meal, it conveys pure love. No way any of us cooks are standing over a hot stove constantly stirring rice for an hour if we aren’t making it for someone we “heart” ! 🙂

But I digress. Oven risotto is great because you can still achieve the rich, luxurious texture of traditional risotto with a fraction of the work. You can whip up a special meal after a long work week with this recipe, making it a good Friday date night go-to. Open a fresh bottle of dry white wine to cook with, then serve the rest with your meal!

Cauliflower-Cheddar Oven Risotto with Sauteed Chicken

Cauliflower-Cheddar Oven Risotto with Sauteed Chicken

The following serves 4 (adapted from Food Network Magazine):

  • 5 cups low-sodium, reduced-fat chicken broth
  • 1 small head cauliflower, cut into small florets (or broccoli)
  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter, or I can’t believe it’s not butter
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 and 3/4 cup arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded or grated (I used reduced-fat)
  • 1.5-2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast cutlets, thinly sliced
  • Citrus-herb seasoning salt, or whatever spices you want to season the chicken with
  • Chives, chopped for garnish

Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 425.

Bring 4 cups of the chicken broth to a low simmer in a saucepan. Toss the cauliflower with 1 Tbsp of olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet and set aside.

Heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a large Dutch oven or ovenproof pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, another minute. Add the rice, stir to coat and cook for another minute or two to toast. Pour in the wine and cook until evaporated, about 1 minute. Add the hot broth, 3/4 tsp salt, and pepper to taste; bring to a boil. Cover and set on the bottom oven rack. Place the cauliflower on the upper rack. Bake, stirring both the rice and cauliflower once halfway through cooking, until most of the liquid has been absorbed in the rice and the cauliflower is tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

Heat the remaining 1 cup chicken stock in the same saucepan you used earlier.

Remove the rice and cauliflower from the oven. Add another 3/4 cut hot broth (if you don’t have enough broth you could also use hot water instead, broth just offers more flavor), 1 Tbsp butter and the cheese to the rice and stir until creamy (add a little more hot water or hot broth to loosen, if necessary). Stir in the cauliflower. This Girl tip: if you’re keeping an eye on your carb intake like me, reserve some of the roasted cauliflower and serve yourself an extra portion of veggies along with the risotto.

After you stir the cauliflower and rice, season some chicken breast cutlets with a citrus-herb seasoning salt (I make my own but you could use whatever seasoning you like) and saute in a little olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet, until browned on both sides. Save yourself some time and buy the thinly sliced chicken breasts from the grocery store versus pounding them out yourself. I like taking out some frustration by pounding chicken just as much as the next person, but sometimes it’s nice to cut a corner here and there. 🙂

Garnish risotto with chives and serve alongside sauteed chicken, and a glass of white wine.