I love vegetable-loaded comfort food. 🙂 This casserole dish also has farro, a favorite, and cheese, of course. My husband said he would have loved it even without the fresh mozzarella on top! Absolutely delicious.
The recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Sarah DiGregorio. I doubled the amount of cauliflower, omitted the olives, used Trader Joe’s 10-minute farro, and modified the method and proportions.
We ate the casserole as a main course with garlic bread and green salad. It could also be served as a hearty side dish. The recipe is very adaptable and could be easily modified to incorporate other vegetables.
Yield: Serves 8
For the Farro and Cauliflower:
- 1 large head of cauliflower, florets and tender stems cut into large bite-sized pieces
- 8.8 oz bag Trader Joe’s 10-minute farro
- 1 (28 to 32-ounce) jar good-quality marinara sauce (I used Rao’s)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup pitted kalamata or black olives, roughly chopped, optional (I omitted them)
- 10 large garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
- 3 ounces grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino-Romano (about 3/4 cup finely grated)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano or dried basil
- 1 teaspoon balsamic or sherry vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes, or to taste
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup stock (can substitute water)
- 2/3 cup water
For the Topping:
- 1 cup panko
- 2 ounces grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano (about 1/2 cup finely grated)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 to 12 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced into rounds (I used 12 slices)
- Heat the oven to 425 degrees. (I set my oven to convection roast.)
- In a 9-by-13-inch pan, combine the cauliflower, farro, marinara sauce, olive oil, olives (if using), garlic, grated cheese, onion powder, oregano or basil, vinegar and red-pepper flakes. Season with the salt and a generous amount of black pepper.
- Pour in 1 cup stock and 2/3 cups water and stir well to combine. (can substitute with 1 2/3 cups water)
- Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake in the oven for 40 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, make the topping: Stir together the panko, grated cheese and olive oil.
- Uncover the pan and stir.
- Evenly cover the top with the panko topping.
- Top with the fresh mozzarella rounds.
- Continue baking uncovered until the farro is tender and chewy, the sauce is thick, the topping is browned, and the mozzarella has melted, about 10 to 15 minutes more. (I baked it for an additional 12 minutes on convection roast.) (I also put my garlic bread in the same oven at this point!)