I arrived home from a business trip this week to find a copy of the latest addition to my cookbook collection, Cooking with Italian Grandmothers, on the doorstep. And after a few days of planes, trains and automobiles, I was looking forward to making a simple dinner and curling up with my new book. Luckily, I had a beautiful head of cauliflower and some fresh sausage from the local farmer’s market at the ready. One of my favorite ways to prepare cauliflower is with pancetta, capers and lemon. At times, I toss it over pasta; other times I let the flavors fly solo. Occasionally, I omit the pancetta to make this a vegetarian dish. To keep dinner light, I simply tossed the cauliflower in the oven, fired up the grill, uncorked a bottle of Sangiovese and let the evening unfold as planned. Perfect. And, by the way, my new cookbook is excellent! Look for upcoming posts on recipes from its pages. Buon week-end, tutti!
Roasted Cauliflower with Pancetta and Capers
1 head of cauliflower
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
About 1/4 pound of pancetta, diced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 anchovy fillets, drained and minced or about 1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
3 tablespoons capers, drained
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Rinse the cauliflower and cut into florets about 1-2 inches in diameter.
2. In a large saute or baking pan, mix the cauliflower with the olive oil and pancetta. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Mix well.
3. Place the pan in the oven and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook until the pancetta is crispy and the cauliflower is browned and tender.
4. Meanwhile, in a large serving bowl, mash the anchovies with the lemon juice to a paste. Stir in the parsley and capers. Mix well.
5. When the cauliflower is done, add to the large bowl and mix well with the dressing. Adjust seasonings. Garnish with additional capers and/or parsley if desired. Serve while still warm. Buon appetito!