Also called Roman cauliflower, florets of Romanesco cauliflower are simmered in a sweet and spicy tomato sauce.
I walked into my local market this past weekend and there they were, pointy headed green globes otherwise known as Romanesco cauliflower.
This striking member of the brassica family demanded my attention; it’s was a stand-out among other vegetables both in its unique shape and coral-like texture. The light green color contrasted starkly with its paler, more common white cauliflower sibling and tempted me to grab a head for dinner.
Also called Roman cauliflower, this pretty crucifer is rather irresistible once you get to know it. Appealing in taste and appearance it can be prepared much like regular cauliflower, but its mild flavor and tender but firm texture is especially lovely simmered in a bright and bold tomato sauce.
Spicy, sweet and savory all at once roman cauliflower in spicy tomato sauce is a hearty winter dish with steeped in the traditions of Italy and the Mediterranean.
The tightly packed light green florets are quickly dunked in boiling water for a few minutes then hit the pan for a short bath in an easy tomato sauce filled with garlic, bits of salty olives and plump raisins.
A pinch of red pepper supplies the necessary heat that pulls the sweet and salty flavors into line then water and wine join the party and the whole thing is left to mingle for 10 minutes. Bubbling around and about the sauce infuses each silky floret.
Once tender and yielding the dish is finished off with toasty pine nuts and a few fresh snippets of parsley. I’d also suggest a grating of Pecorino cheese to accompany it if you are so inclined.
Serves Serves 4
Spicy, sweet and savory all at once roman cauliflower in spicy tomato sauce is a hearty winter dish with an Italian heritage.
20 minPrep Time
20 minCook Time
- 1 medium head of Romanesco or regular cauliflower, cut into florets
- 2 Tablespoons/28g of butter or olive oil
- Two small garlic cloves, finely chopped or minced
- Crushed red pepper flakes (about 1/8th to 1/4 teaspoon depending on how hot you like it)
- Sea salt
- 3 Tablespoons/60g concentrated tomato paste
- 2 Tablespoons/15g raisins
- 1/4 cup/40g black olives, chopped
- 3/4 cup /180ml cup water
- ¼ cup/60ml dry white wine (for alcohol-free version substitute 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar and 2 Tablespoons water for the wine)
- ¼ cup/30g pine nuts, toasted (toast them in a 350° oven for 5 to 10 minutes)
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
- 1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Pecorino Romano cheese, for serving (optional)
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add cauliflower and blanch for 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- In a wide sauté pan warm the butter over a medium-low heat. Add the chopped garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes and a pinch of salt. Sauté 1 minute until garlic is fragrant but not browned.
- Stir in the tomato paste, raisins, olives water and wine. Raise the heat and bring the sauce to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low, add the blanched cauliflower and simmer covered for 10 minutes.
- Top with parsley and pine nuts. Serve with Pecorino cheese if desired.