This is an excellent side dish, but it also makes a great sauce for pasta or, when topped with shaved Pecorino Romano cheese, a delicious appetizer. It is also wonderful as a topping for bruschetta.
- 1 head cauliflower (about 2 ½ pounds)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup diced onion
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 2 fresh or dried bay leaves
- ½ teaspoon peperoncino (crushed red pepper)
- 2 cups peeled and seeded ripe plum tomatoes or one 16-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, drained and seeded (Learn more about Cento Certified San Marzano Tomatoes)
Pull off the cauliflower leaves and cut out the core. Break the cauliflower head into florets. In a large casserole, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until wilted, about 4 minutes. Add cauliflower, bay leaves and peperoncino and season lightly with salt. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, crush the tomatoes coarsely by hand.
Add the tomatoes to the cauliflower and cook, covered, until the cauliflower is very tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 30 minutes. Check the cauliflower after about 20 minutes: There should be just enough liquid to lightly coat the cauliflower. If there is more, finish cooking the cauliflower uncovered. Season with salt and serve hot.