Ode to Cavofliore…
I know that doesn’t look like much up there. AND, chances are when you say we’re having Pasta with Cauliflower for dinner tonight you’ll get that blank stare like they suddenly lost their hearing or possibly their sense of humor…It sounds so much better in Italian. Pasta con Cavofliore…It’s such a subtle dish that really sneaks up on you and has it’s way ever so, um, sneakily.
Cauliflower is one of those vegetables that you really have to cook past the stinky phase and into the sublime- it actually does happen– and cook it the Italian way, braise it, this is not time for crunchy, partially cooked veg. No, this is really braised like meat. And you’ll be happy as a clam because really who wants hard, undercooked Cauliflower with their Spaghetti? No, no, no, you want this soft, almost homogenous with the rest of the sauce, in that it’s not about picking out whole pieces of cauliflower, though you will get a few here and there. This is a very saucy sauce. And this- very important, agrodolce.
Chunk into small bits 1/2 of a medium cauliflower and saute in hot olive oil with a few cloves of chopped garlic and season with salt + fresh or dried red chilies, chopped/ When Cauliflower is beginning to brown, deglaze the pan with some vinegar (I had some pepperoncini vin in the fridge) and stir in about a cup of crushed tomato/ stir in chicken stock (or water) about 2 cups, next and bring all to a light bubble and add a fistful of raisins/ braise until cauliflower is soft and beautiful/ tip in cream and a knob of butter, some chopped parsley to finish/ when pasta is al dente toss in with the sauce and coat, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, Parmigiano will complete. Eat straight from the pan with 2 forks and cold glasses of Lambrusco.