Delicious Cauliflower Leaves in Italian Tomato Sauce Recipe
Cauliflower Leaves in Italian Tomato Sauce
Cauliflower Leaves in Italian Tomato Sauce Recipe
How Italians Eat Green Vegetables
Until just recently I've specifically chosen a cauliflower which has fewer leaves than other cauliflowers at the markets, aiming for the big white flower part of the vegetable, (thinking the green leaves would be a waste of money).
This all changed recently when I saw a container of very small cauliflower heads nestling among their bright green leaves, lots of green leaves, at a local open vegetable stand in Tuscany where I live. I bought one with all its leaves attached and this time decided to make a vegetable dish with the leaves.
One of the favorite ways to eat green vegetables in our Italian household, as in other Italian homes is to make them 'in umido', (which means 'braised in tomato sauce'). Bitter greens such as black cabbage and chard are extremely palatable this way. So why not cauliflower leaves? I experimented whilst the leaves were still fresh and green; all their goodness and nutrition intact. And it was a success.
Here is my recipe for delicious cauliflower leaves in Italian tomato sauce made with extra virgin olive oil. (And also with the cauliflower florets). It is a delicious way to prepare this humble green!
Cauliflower with Briased Cauliflower Leaves, a Tasty Side Dish
- 1 whole cauliflower, with its leaves
- 300 grams tomato sauce
- 1/4 -1/2 onion
- 1/4 teaspoon chilli pepper (optional)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- pinch salt
Instructions how to Cook the Greens and Make them with Tomato Sauce
- Chop off the very hard core at the base of the cauliflower, and discard
- Separate the leaves from the cauliflower
- Wash them, drain
- Slice the leaves and steam them, (or boil in a pan in 1 litre salted water) till the stem has softened. If you like well cooked greens, then cook them well. If you like them on the crispy side, then cook them less.
- Boil and strain the cauliflower in salted water whilst you make the sauce.
- Drain the leaves HOLDING BACK A CUP OF VEG WATER and set aside while you make the tomato sauce
- For the tomato sauce: finely chop the onion.
- In a medium sized frying pan: add the extra virgin olive oil the onion the chilli and cook until the onion is transparent
- Add the cooked cauliflower leaves, stir and cook together for a few minutes
- Add the tomato sauce, mix together and cook on moderate heat for about 20 minutes. Add the vegetable water. Mix and stir. Keep covered.
- The greens in the sauce are cooked when the tomato sauce has condensed but not too thickly. (Usually when little bubbles appear in the sauce)
- Serve hot in a serving dish with or without the cauliflower
Braised Cauliflower Leaves in Tomato Sauce - In Umido
Knife and Block for Vegetable Cookery
|Serving size: 100 grams|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 0 g|
|Saturated fat 0 g|
|Unsaturated fat 0 g|
|Carbohydrates 5 g||2%|
|Sugar 2 g|
|Fiber 3 g||12%|
|Protein 2 g||4%|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
Serve with Pork Chops as a Main Meal
Served as a Meal or Side Dish
Braised cauliflower leaves in an Italian tomato sauce ('in umido') can be served as a whole vegetarian meal, made pretty and doubly delicious with it's white cauliflower florets. Drizzle a little more extra virgin olive oil over the florets.
- You could toast some thick slices of bread, put a slice at the bottom of each serving dish and serve the greens on top (the tomato sauce needs to be more liquid for this.)
- You could also serve it as a side dish next grilled meats, (which don't have sauce) and baked potato, or french fries.
- A poached or fried egg on the top with some hot crusty bread makes it a tasty supper dish.
NOTE: If you like hot and spicy, then add more chilli. It is very, very good hot.
- If you are serving small children then go lightly with pepper, obviously. A sprinkling of cheese on the top makes it tastier to children and will encourage them to eat their greens.
Terra Cotta Serving Dishes
Tips for Preparing in Advance
You can make this dish ahead of time (1 day even) and reheat.
If this is your plan, then keep another cup of greens juice to add to the braised vegetables for re-heating.
You can re-heat in the oven in a casserole dish with a lid so that it's out of the way but also a surprise when it is served - and looks great in a rustic dish. (See the ad).
It tastes good with hot bread.
Sausages are perfect with it too.
© 2012 Penelope Hart