This spicy side dish can serve as a pasta sauce or as an appetizer, topped with pecorino romano cheese.
The recipe was tested using sculptural, seasonal Romanesco cauliflower, which cooks about the same as regular cauliflower. We found the Romanesco variety at larger Magruder's stores, where it should be available only through this week.
Servings: 8 generous servings
- 1 head (32 ounces) cauliflower
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup finely diced onion
- 4 medium cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 fresh or dried bay leaves
- 1/2 to 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 cups cored, peeled and seeded tomatoes or one 16-ounce can of italian plum tomatoes, drained and seeded
Discard the cauliflower leaves and cut out the core. Break the head into florets no larger than 1 1/2 inches.
Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium or medium-low heat until the oil shimmers. Add the onion and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Add the cauliflower florets, bay leaves and crushed red pepper flakes to taste; season lightly with salt and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, use your hands to crush the tomatoes over the pot; stir to mix well. Cover and cook for 20 to 30 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed (check after 20 minutes). There should be just enough liquid left to cover the cauliflower; if there is more, uncover to finish the cooking. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed; discard the bay leaves and garlic, if desired. Serve hot.
Adapted from a Mariquita's Farm CSA member newsletter (www.mariquita.com).
Tested by Jeff and Lois Baron.
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