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Fava Bean and Cauliflower Risotto
© John Kernick

Fava Bean and Cauliflower Risotto


This lovely risotto is finished with a cauliflower-and-fava puree, which makes it extra-creamy.


  1. 4 pounds fresh fava beans, shelled
  2. 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  3. 1 small cauliflower, cut into small florets (3 cups)
  4. 1 large shallot, minced
  5. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  6. 1 bay leaf
  7. 1 1/2 cups arborio or carnaroli rice
  8. 1/2 cup dry white wine
  9. 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth, warmed
  10. 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  11. Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  12. Kosher salt
  13. Freshly ground pepper
  14. Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  1. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add the fava beans and blanch for 30 seconds. Drain and let cool under running water. Slip off the tough outer skins and transfer the beans to a bowl; you should have about 2 cups.
  2. In the same saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add half each of the fava beans and cauliflower and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until the cauliflower is crisp-tender, 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of water, cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender, 5 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and puree until smooth, adding more water by the tablespoonful, if necessary.
  3. Wipe out the saucepan and melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in it. Add the shallot, garlic and bay leaf and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, 5 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring, until coated, 1 minute. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until it is absorbed. Add 1 cup of the warm broth and cook, stirring, until nearly absorbed; continue adding it 1 cup at a time, stirring until nearly absorbed between additions, until the rice is al dente, 20 minutes total. Halfway through cooking, stir in the remaining cauliflower.
  4. Stir the fava-cauliflower puree into the risotto with the lemon juice, 1/2 cup of grated cheese and the remaining fava beans and 1 tablespoon of butter. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the risotto to bowls and drizzle with oil. Serve with more cheese.
Make Ahead
The recipe can be prepared through Step 2 up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated the puree.

Suggested Pairing

This risotto is exceptional with white wine from the Loire Valley. Try a Cheverny Blanc or Chenin Blanc.