THIS is the brutti ma buoni of vegetable dishes!! The aforementioned Italian cookie is near the top of my kitchen-to-make list – I’ve eaten them, certainly, but have yet to make them. This interesting recipe from the irreverent David Rocco took over, mainly because local cauliflower are now in season.
Even though I didn’t have the cheese rinds, because I’d recently made soup and used them… I went ahead. Something about this just grabbed me… and I’m not sure why. I usually would only eat cauliflower the way my Mom made it, a comforting squishy type of gratin involving heaps of butter and bread crumbs equally the most marvellous gratin – that she did on the stove top!
Something lovely happens when this combination of ingredients is left to simmer, cook down and get totally happy together. In full disclosure though, I did only make half the recipe – mostly because I had another cauliflower recipe to try. Think I’ll try this on my next tasting night. Nothing like a table full of hungry visitors for honest feedback.
First impressions on tasting it…? It tasted like cabbage rolls!! What a bonus for this girl of Polish heritage!
With it’s nature, of course it was even better the next day, boosted by an extra decadent grating of Parmigiano. What…??? I had to make up for the lack of cheese rinds in the initial cooking.
Since making this, I’ve also made and posted a recipe on Zucchini Noodle Lasagna and it’s occurred to me that if you want to make it vegetarian, indeed vegan, you could use this hearty cauliflower recipe in place of the traditional tomato-meat sauce. Talk about a dish with a powerhouse of vegetables & nutrients. Mamma mia~
The Best Cauliflower Ever
(Cavolfiori Stufati al Pomodoro)
You just have to admire how darn good the Italians are with vegetables! Even with the most seemingly ordinary ingredients such as this, you end up with something so fantastic, so delizioso that you won’t believe it, until you try it. You gotta make this~
1 large head cauliflower
1 medium white onion
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
salt & freshly ground pepper, *QB
2 cups tomato puree
½ cup water
½ cup cubed hard cheese, rinds on (optional)
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Cut cauliflower into small pieces set aside.
Finely chop onion and look in your fridge/freezer for chunks of tough Parmigiano or cheese that may not have been wrapped properly (Parmigiano or whatever you have). Cube up the tough cheese, rinds and all.
In a large pot, heat olive oil and onions cooking until translucent; this is your soffritto, your flavour base. Throw in chopped parsley and cauliflower mixing well. Add generous amount of salt and pepper, tomato puree and water. Mix again bringing up to a simmer, lower your heat to medium, put lid on and cook for 40 minutes or more, until cauliflower is done (depending how small cauliflower pieces are).
Take it off the heat, and give it a fairly rough mix to mash down any large pieces of cauliflower with back of spoon. Now add the pieces of cheese and grated Parmigiano. Mix very well and let it rest 10-15 minutes. Tastes best served warm or room temperature.
*QB means quanta basta. The Italian way of saying as much as needed!