Today I discovered fresh organic English peas in the market! When I lived in Italy, fresh peas in the pod were a sign of spring. Everyone rushes home to make this risotto, called “Risi e Bisi” in Venetian dialect, or “Rice with Peas”. However you won’t find this particular risotto in Italy! Cauliflower rice is Paleo, Vegan, free of gluten, grains, and dairy. Traditional Italian risotto must be stirred continuously for 20 minutes to turn the rice into a thick, creamy broth. Then you add tons of butter and Parmesan cheese! Well, I don’t do that any more. To mimic the creamy Parmesan quality, I mixed broth, lemon juice, nutritional yeast and arrowroot powder. It made a perfect creamy sauce for the al-dente risotto.
I’ve heard talk that peas aren’t Paleo – Oh dear! Certainly they couldn’t mean my favorite English peas in the pod. Our Paleolithic ancestors would have grabbed those babies in a flash! So I’m just letting you know we may be stretching the strict Paleo rules in this recipe. You can even use frozen peas when they’re aren’t in season, but don’t tell anyone. Makes 4 large servings, or 6 servings as a side dish.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion
- 4 ounces mushrooms, preferably Shiitake or Maitake
- 2 cups fresh English peas out of the shell, or frozen if they’re not in season
- 1 1/2 cups broth. Homemade is best. Or buy Imagine Foods Organic Broth in some healthy groceries or online. It’s the only commercial line of tasty broths that I know without sugars or msg. There are no commercial bouillon cubes I consider safe.
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 medium to large head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
- 1/2 cup broth (same as above)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon unprocessed salt
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder Or if you prefer, use 1/4 teaspoon guar gum, which is lower in carbs.
- Pour olive oil into a large skillet. Add onion and sauté over medium heat until it begins to soften. Add mushrooms, if using, and sauté until they begin to soften. Add the peas, and cook until they just barely begin to soften. While these are cooking, prepare the cauliflower.
- Place small florets into a large food processor and process until they are rice-sized pieces. Mine is an 11-cup and I had to do this in 2 parts. Place the “riced” cauliflower into the skillet and add 1 cup broth. Cover and cook over medium heat until soft, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t stick. Meanwhile prepare the risotto broth.
- In a small bowl or cup, add the broth, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, nutritional yeast, and arrowroot powder or guar gum. If using guar gum, I suggest sprinkling it in with a salt shaker so it’s less likely to clump. Stir well.
- Pour risotto broth over the cauliflower in the skillet. Stir it in, cover and cook over medium heat stirring occasionally so it doesn't stick, until cauliflower is al-dente, about the texture of rice, 5 – 15 minutes. Do not overcook or it will be mushy. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with basil or Italian curly-leaf parsley. Enjoy!