I have made this wonderfully cheesy dish a couple of times already- just to get the proportions right. I knew that I had to increase the amount of simple and flavorful sauce after making it the first time.
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I lightened the dish by baking the cauliflower after coating it instead of frying it. We ate it over linguini fini with sautéed broccoli rabe on the side. Wonderful!
Yield: Serves 6 to 8
- 6 T extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon red Chile flakes, optional
- 3 (28-ounce) cans whole or diced plum tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
- 3 sprigs basil or 1 bay leaf
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- scant 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Parmesan rind, optional
- In a large, straight-sided skillet over medium heat, warm the oil. (I used an enameled cast iron pot with a glass lid.)
- Add garlic and cook until just lightly golden.
- Add chile flakes if desired and cook 30 seconds.
- Stir in tomatoes and juices, basil or bay leaf, and salt and pepper.
- Bring sauce to a simmer, add the Parmesan rind, if using, and cook until sauce is thick and tomatoes have mostly fallen apart, about 30 to 40 minutes. Adjust heat as needed to keep at a steady simmer. If using whole plum tomatoes, mash them up with the back of a wooden spoon or a potato masher to help them break down.
- Remove sauce from heat and discard basil or bay leaf.
For the Cauliflower & To Finish the Dish:
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 3 cups panko or plain unseasoned bread crumbs
- Kosher salt, as needed
- freshly ground black pepper, as needed
- 1 large or 2 small/medium heads cauliflower, trimmed and cut into 2-inch florets (I used 1 small and 1 medium)
- olive oil, for drizzling
- Simple Tomato Sauce (recipe above)
- 1 cup finely grated Parmesan, preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 3/4 pound fresh mozzarella, torn into bite-size pieces
- linguine fini or other pasta, optional, for serving
- Heat the oven to 425 degrees, preferably on convection roast.
- Place flour, eggs, and panko into three wide, shallow bowls. (I used glass pie dishes.) Season each generously with salt and pepper.
- Dip a cauliflower piece first in flour, then eggs, then coat with panko. Repeat with remaining cauliflower.
- Place on 2 parchment paper-lined, rimmed baking sheets. Roast coated florets for 22-24 minutes, or until nicely browned.
- Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees, preferably on convection.
- Spoon a thin layer of sauce over the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.
- Sprinkle one-third of the Parmesan over sauce.
- Scatter half cauliflower mixture over the Parmesan and top with half the mozzarella pieces.
- Top with half the remaining sauce, sprinkle with another third of the Parmesan and repeat layering, ending with a final layer of sauce and Parmesan.
- Transfer pan to oven and bake until cheese is golden and casserole is bubbling, about 30 to 40 minutes. While the dish is baking, prepare the pasta, if desired.
- Let cool a few minutes before serving. Serve over prepared pasta, as desired.
Fantastic plate! 😋🌿
Thank you! We LOVED this dish. 🙂
I love cauliflower but I’m always struggling for ideas of what to do with it. Thank you for sharing another great recipe idea. I will definitely try this st home. Xx