Cauliflower has gone from the most loved side dish to the defender of the low carb alternatives and anything in between. Its versatility makes it easy to serve more often without any complaint of “cauliflower again”. There are many ways on how to cook cauliflower while keeping it interesting. From cooking it whole, ricing, mashing, florets and now a cauliflower steak. Yes, Cauliflower steak with sautéed earthy mushroom to start dinner, followed by a classic Italian pasta dish- another great way to end the day.
Cauliflower steak and mushrooms, some considered it as a meal on its own. It is more than enough till breakfast. But unlike my family, I can’t trick their mind……Cauliflower is still a “cauliflower”, a vegetable. My household is a fast-paced environment that sometimes, we don’t have the effort to dissect the structure and substance of each food we eat that is directly involved for a good life. To help them avoid grabbing a bowl of cereals before heading off to their bedroom, a serving of this light Italian pasta dish is a perfect antidote. This is what we call a light meal at home.
When I make a cauliflower steak – First cut right through the middle of the cauliflower, making sure to keep the core intact. Cut into thick slices about 1-inch thick. Save the excess florets to make cauliflower rice, or include them in cooking and hide them when you take pictures for your social media, hahaha.. I’m honest, you know. I treat this cauliflower steak like cooking a grand New York striploin. Add butter and olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, while seasoning the cauliflower with salt and pepper. As soon as the butter foam, add the cauliflower and let it sear until the bottom is nicely browned. Add more butter, smashed garlic cloves and rosemary on one side. Turn the cauliflower upside down and keep basting the melted fragrant butter over the steak for at least a minute or so. Transfer to the preheated oven and to finish cooking to your likeness while you start sautéing the mushrooms.
Pomodoro, in E n g l i s h ….tomato. I’ve learned this during my first year here in Canada. I was lucky to meet Nona and Nono, I enjoyed listening to their accent and when they use their own Italian Language, they sound like those mafias I watched in those mafia movies, even just for them to say “Al Pomodoro”, “Sugo di Pomodoro” in their accent, I love it. What I like the most about their Pomodoro sauce, it’s smooth and thick; just enough to coat a cooked pasta and savour how it was cooked a little longer until it reduces its volume giving the best-concentrated flavor. At that time, I even don’t know all those different kinds of tomato sauce. I just enjoy eating plain or with meat. As I slowly find my sense of direction and make my own sauce, It always sends me back to history, this is what I ate at Nono and Nona; they showed me another face of Italy especially when you try their homemade prosciutto and sausages, to die for.
While we don’t have access to the fresh sweet tomatoes that we get during summer that most authentic Italians ask for, Canned tomatoes are spectacular to use. The main reason they are there. Either you want to use canned whole tomatoes and puree it yourself or buy one that is already pureed like the one I love, “Passata“. I always have passata on hand to make pizza, an add-on to make burger and an excellent base for soups or pasta sauce. I think I Have to stop yapping and let’s get cookin’ ENJOY!
CAULIFLOWER STEAK WITH SAUTEED MUSHROOM
- 1 Large or 2 Medium cauliflower
- 4 Tablespoon Olive oil
- 6 Tablespoon Unsalted butter
- 3 Garlic cloves (smashed)
- 1 Rosemary sprig
- 1 Teaspoon Salt and pepper – each
- ¼ Cup Chicken stock/vegetable stock
- 4 Tablespoon unsalted butter or olive oil
- 1 Medium Shallot, thinly sliced
- 1 Large Garlic clove
- 10 Ounces Cremini mushroom or mixed with shitake or oyster mushroom – thinly sliced
- 2 Tablespoon Fresh thyme leaves
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ Cup Chopped parsley
- 1 Lemon
- Grated parmesan cheese (optional)
- Pre-heat the oven 350°F
- Wash and trim the cauliflower. making sure the bottom is flat and the core is fully intact. Sice right through the center and cut 1 inch on each side. Giving you two large steaks or 4 when using 2 medium cauliflower. Save the extra florets for another use. gently rub the salt and pepper around the steaks.
- Using a large frying pan, add olive oil plus 2 tablespoon butter and heat over medium heat until very hot and the butter starts to brown. Add the cauliflower and cook until nicely browned at the bottom about 2 to 3. add the remaining butter, garlic and rosemary on one side. Gently flip the cauliflower browned side up using a large spatula. When the butter melt and starts to smell nutty and fragrant from garlic and rosemary, give a little telt to the pan, spoon the liquid butter and keep basting the cauliflower for a minute. Add the chicken stock or vegetable stock and transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 10 minutes or until the cauliflower is soft all the way through but not mushy.
- While the cauliflower is roasting in the oven, heat a large saute pan on medium heat and brown the butter. Add the shallots and cook for a minute, add the garlic and mushrooms. Stir to combine, continue cooking until all the mushrooms release their liquid and evaporate completely about 8 minutes. Add the thyme, salt and pepper to taste and continue cooking for a minute. Turn off the heat, add the chopped parsley.
- Transfer one cauliflower steak into the plate, top with sauteed mushroom, zest lemon on top, cut the lemon in half and give a gentle squeeze of juice; top with grated parmesan(if using) and serve.
POMODORO SPAGHETTI WITH ORANGE
- 4 Tablespoon Olive oil, divided
- 1 Small Onion, grated using the larger hole of the grater box or minced
- 2 Garlic cloves, minced
- 4 Strips Orange peel
- ½ Teaspoon Red pepper flakes
- 12 Ounces Tomato puree/ "Passata"
- 1 Teaspoon Fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 8 Ounces Spaghetti
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Grated parmesan cheese to serve
- Heat Olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add onion and cook until translucent. Add garlic and orange peel and cook until fragrant; then pour the tomato puree. Add the oregano, continue cooking for at least 20 minutes, stirring once in a while or until the sauce reduced to half.
- Halfway through cooking, cook the spaghetti pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until aldente. Transfer the pasta to the sauce, reserving some of the cooking liquid. Whip the remaining extra virgin olive oil and salt to taste. Add a little of the pasta cooking liquid if needed. Laddle the spaghetti on a plate, finish with a few grinds of pepper and orange zest. Serve and pass Grated parmesan cheese if desired.