The Italians don’t cease to surprise me. During one of our trips to Italy, we came across a small osteria near our hotel in Bologna. They had a dish that intrigued me. Cauliflower pasta with crispy bread topping. Cauliflower and pasta, and bread? I thought, I have to try it. To my surprise, this is one of the best pasta dishes I had ever eaten. The silky texture of the cauliflower together with the crispy bread topping and parmesan. I fell in love with it and immediately had to recreate it. This crostino is a vegetarian treat that could also be vegan if you omit the parmesan. If you are not a fan of cauliflower, this crostino will make you a believer.
Wine tip: Sauvignon Blanc
- 1 medium sized cauliflower
- 3 cloves of garlic, sliced
- A pinch of hot chili flakes
- 1 cup chicken stock
- ¾ cup breadcrumbs
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 tablespoon of chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Salt and pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil
Add a good drizzle (around 3 tablespoons) of olive oil to a pan over medium heat. Add the garlic, a pinch of hot chili flakes and let is cook together for a few seconds until the garlic starts to get a golden color. Be careful not to burn it.
Add the florets of cauliflower and stir. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and cook for about 10 minutes. Add the chicken stock and turn the heat to medium low. Let the cauliflower cook until it is tender. Around 10 more minutes.
In the meantime, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a pan over medium heat. Once it is hot, add the breadcrumbs, the chopped parsley and lemon zest. Let it fry together until the mixture starts to become golden brown. You want the breadcrumbs to be toasty and crunchy. Once done, set aside.
Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a grill pan on medium high heat. Add the bread slices and grill on both sides. Once golden all over, remove from the heat.
Add a tablespoon of the cauliflower mixture to the toasted bread. Add the crunchy bread topping on top of the cauliflower. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over it and decorate with fresh parsley. Serve warm or room temperature.