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Cauliflower 3 Ways: “Cavolfiore Italianissimo”

August 12, 2013 by Joan Nova in Blogging, Creative Cooking Crew Challenge, Italian, Recipe Development, Vegetables | 16 Comments

Cauliflower, like brussels sprouts, had a bad reputation for a long time  … that is, until the “foodie revolution” slapped cooks upside their collective heads and made them stop boiling, over-cooking, or under-seasoning vegetables.

This month’s Creative Cooking Crew challenge is to present 1 vegetable (or fruit) 3 different ways.

My 3-course menu was Cauliflower Pizza Bianco served with welcome cocktails, followed by a Cauliflower Salad with Tuna and Lemon-Anchovy Dressing. The main course was Pasta with Cauliflower Pink Sauce — and, hey we’re Italian, so I had to add sausage, peppers and sautéed mushrooms as an additional dish to serve with the entree.

Cauliflower Pizza Bianco
roasted cauliflower, fresh mozzarella, parmigiano reggiano, ricotta, roasted garlic, seasoned panko crumbs, hazelnuts (roasted and peeled), lemon zest, rosemary, crumbled bacon

Pre-bake pizza crust to light golden brown. Meantime, mix ricotta with bacon, roasted garlic, lemon zest and dry seasonings. Mix breadcrumbs with hazelnuts, rosemary and lemon zest. Layer ricotta cheese mixture on pizza crust, top with roasted cauliflower, sprinkle breadcrumbs mix and grate fresh mozzarella over top. Return to oven or place under broiler for a few minutes till cheese melts and crumbs toast.

Finishing Touch: Red chili flakes, chopped parsley and lemon zest.

Cauliflower Salad with Tuna and Lemon-Anchovy Dressing
raw cauliflower, black olives, carrots, fennel, red onion, red and yellow pepper, Italian parsley, lemon zest and capers with imported wild caught tuna fillets (jar) and lemon-anchovy dressing

Break cauliflower into small florets. Mince all other vegetables. Add tuna fillets and toss with dressing (fresh lemon juice, lemon rind, garlic-infused olive oil, dash of hot sauce, anchovy paste and fresh lemon juice). Add dry seasonings.

Finishing Touch:  Fresh squeeze of lemon, chopped parsley and red chili flakes.

Pasta with Cauliflower ‘Pink’ Sauce
roasted cauliflower, tomatoes and garlic pureed with chicken broth, parmesan and a little olive oil

Roast cauliflower, tomatoes and garlic with olive oil and dry seasonings until soft. Puree with chicken broth, parmesan and a little olive oil. Although the cauliflower is not immediately visible, it is the star of this dish.

Finishing Touch: Freshly ground pink peppercorns, extra grated parmesan and basil.

And here’s a taste for you!

Cauliflower 3-Ways

Note: I’ve made variations of the pizza and salad many times before, but the pink sauce was a new idea. Trust me, it’s a ‘must-try’. It’s sort of like a coarse cream sauce. The pureed roasted cauliflower substitutes for cream and butter and, because it’s roasted, adds a ton of flavor.

Laz will post the round-up on August 30. Can’t wait to see what everyone does.

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NOTE: Some recipes found on FOODalogue are offered without ingredient quantities. They're meant as a guide to food pairings and techniques to be experimented with … in your own kitchen … to your own spice and taste levels … to your preferred portion sizes … and to however many people you’re cooking for. A perfect meal has multiple levels of flavor and textures, bright colors and tastes, and healthy(ish) choices. It's all about enjoyment. Enjoy the process, the presentation and the just rewards...eating!

16 Comments

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  1. Norma - Platanos, Mangoes and Me! says:

    I liked them all…I would like to try the pasta….Bravissima!

  2. bellini says:

    Mom would hide it in my mashed potatoes as a kid, but with these recipes there is no need to hide it any longer.

  3. When my son walked in the door one day with his dad at age three, I told him I had a special surprise for him. He lit up and said brightly, “Is it cauliflower?” I love seeing what you did with a favorite vegetable here–particularly the pink sauce. Sounds as good as it looks–all of them.
    Victoria of Flavors of the Sun recently posted..Duck Fat and How to Use ItMy Profile

  4. I love cauliflower and would probably pick that pink sauce pasta thing as the favorite. It’s an often overlooked vegetable because it’s so bland looking, glad you highlighted it.
    angela@spinachtiger recently posted..Tomato Galette Celebrates Nashville Tomato Art FestivalMy Profile

  5. My children and I love cauliflower. The pasta would be a hit in our house for sure.
    Brenda Benoit recently posted..A Simple Idea for Breakfast, Lunch or DinnerMy Profile

  6. Shannon says:

    what a great meal! love using cauliflower in new ways, so i’m all over this. my fav would likely be the pizza :)
    Shannon recently posted..StuffedMy Profile

  7. A really great choice, I am one who is beginning to enjoy cauliflower more so this is inspiring. A wonderful trio.
    Evelyne@cheapethniceatz recently posted..Gastronomie à l’amérindienne, a Native American mealMy Profile

  8. Your creativity is astonishing! I love all the dishes! That roasted cauliflower sauce looks like something I need to try!

  9. Faith says:

    Cauliflower is such a versatile ingredient and I love how you’ve used it in this beautiful meal. I’d love to sample everything!
    Faith recently posted..Peanut Butter Swirl Frozen Yogurt PopsiclesMy Profile

  10. Trix says:

    Excellent! I have never met a pizza I don’t like. And the pink sauce is VERY intriguing to me! Am thinking of how I could use it on a 5:2 fast day, hmmmm ….
    Trix recently posted..Mental for Lentils: Berbere-Spiced Red Lentils with Yogurt {Another 5:2 Fast Day Dinner}My Profile

  11. sippitysup says:

    I have made a cauliflower sauce before too. Nobody guessed either… GREG
    sippitysup recently posted..What is Speck? Serve it with Figs and Find OutMy Profile

  12. Laz says:

    Beautifully composed cauliflower dishes. Creative mix of ingredients.

  13. Marisa says:

    I love that your dishes are all completely different, yet equally delicious! I think my favorite is the pizza. I bet you can convert a few cauliflower haters with these recipes!
    Marisa recently posted..Grapefruit Dessert TrioMy Profile

  14. deana sidney says:

    Loving the cauliflower cream idea. It all looks delish though. The pizza and salad, well they would be great to eat together. Wonderful presentation on the spoons too. This was a fun challenge. Thanks for all the work you do for it.
    deana sidney recently posted..Jane Grigson, Troglodyte Houses and Mushrooms Many WaysMy Profile

  15. Lori Lynn says:

    Joan – this is over the top! I read about your cauliflower pizza crust before, can’t believe I haven’t tried it yet, sounds fantastic.
    The cauliflower salad reminds me of nicoise, which I adore.
    And that pink sauce is brilliant! Love substitutes for cream and butter.
    Really first rate meal, bet your guests were in heaven… Now whatcha gonna pickle?
    LL
    Lori Lynn recently posted..Palate Pleaser: Frozen Fig with Rose, Almond, RosemaryMy Profile

  16. I have never done the cauliflower pizza crust before – I really need to try that! and that cream sauce – sounds absolutely lovely!
    Jenn and Seth recently posted..Strawberry Buttermilk Chocolate Chip MuffinsMy Profile

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