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MARY STEENBURGEN Cauliflower Risotto With Shiitakes & Piquillo Peppers

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A healthy, meat-less option that you won’t get enough of!

1 onion (peeled, quartered)
1 rib celery (roughly chopped)
1 pound shiitake mushroom stems (caps set aside for risotto)
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 can piquillo peppers (drained, 14 ounces)
1 ounce sherry vinegar
1 clove garlic (peeled, finely grated)
2 heads cauliflower (roughly grated)
1 pound shiitake mushroom caps
1/4 cup olive oil (divided)
1 shallot (peeled, minced)
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons fresh parsley (roughly chopped)
2 tablespoons thyme leaves (roughly chopped)
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon (roughly chopped)
1/2 cup parmesan (shredded, divided)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

For the Mushroom Stock: In a medium saucepan add the onion, celery, mushroom stems and two sprigs of thyme with two cups water. Place over high heat and bring to boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and allow to cook until the stock is reduced by half, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from the heat, strain and reserve stock.
For the Piquillo Pepper Puree: In the carafe of a blender, combine drained piquillo peppers, sherry vinegar, grated garlic and pinch of salt. Puree until smooth. Transfer to small saucepan. Place over low heat and warm.
For the Risotto: Preheat oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with foil.
Cut cauliflower heads into quarters, leaving the stems on. Using the largest hole side of a box cheese grater, grate the cauliflower head and the top portion of the stems.
Toss shiitake mushrooms with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste. Place mushrooms cap-up in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 10 minutes.
Place large non-stick sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once pan is heated, add the olive oil. Once the oil is shimmering, add the shallot and sauté for 1 minute. Add grated cauliflower to the pan and stir to coat cauliflower. Continue to cook for 1 minute while stirring. Deglaze the pan with white wine, scraping up any bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan. Reduce to a simmer and stir until white wine has almost dissolved, about 1 minute.
Add 1/3 cup of reserved mushroom stock to the pan and a pinch salt. Stir until mushroom stock has almost been completely absorbed, about 1-2 minutes. Add another 1/3 cup reserved mushroom stock and 1/4 cup heavy cream to pan. Continue stirring until mushroom stock and cream thicken and cauliflower is soft and creamy, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
Season cauliflower risotto to taste with salt and pepper. Fold in parsley, thyme, tarragon and ¼ cup shredded Parmesan. Using a spoon, spread a large dollop of warmed piquillo pepper puree on the bottom of each plate. Divide cauliflower risotto between the four plates. Top with roasted shiitake mushrooms. Sprinkle with remaining parmesan and serve.
Tip: 1. Substitute roasted red peppers for piquillo peppers if you are unable to find.
2. Use the bottom of the stem as a handle while grating cauliflower. Discard the woody end of the stem when you’re finished. Also use a food processor with the shredding attachment for easy grating.

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