Fava Bean and Cauliflower Risotto

This lovely risotto is finished with a cauliflower-and-fava puree, which makes it extra-creamy. Slideshows:  More Risotto Recipes 

Fava Bean and Cauliflower Risotto
Photo: © John Kernick
Total Time:
1 hrs 30 mins


  • 4 pounds fresh fava beans, shelled

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 small cauliflower, cut into small florets (3 cups)

  • 1 large shallot, minced

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 1/2 cups arborio or carnaroli rice

  • 1/2 cup dry white wine

  • 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth, warmed

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground pepper

  • 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.

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