Neapolitan style cauliflower

Cavolfiore alla napoletana (Neapolitan-Style Cauliflower)

In Campania, contorno by Frank13 Comments

Here’s another quick and easy vegetable side dish or light supper: Neapolitan style cauliflower, known in Naples itself as cavolfiore con passi e pinoli. It may come as a shock, but this dish contains no tomato, giving lie to the notion that all Neapolitan dishes rely on that ubiquitous vegetable.

Ingredients

Serves 4-6 as a contorno (side dish)

  • A head of cauliflower
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • Olive oil
  • A handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • A handful of pinoli nuts
  • A handful of raisins, soaked in lukewarm water until soft
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

You begin by lightly boiling a trimmed head of cauliflower for 5-10 minutes, depending on its size, draining it and letting it cool a bit.

Then cut the head into flowerets, dividing the largest ones so all of them are of more or less equal size. You can cut up the stem as well—which is perfectly edible as well—into sections.

Allow the flowerets to braise over gentle heat in some olive oil and a clove of garlic for about 20 minutes, or until just tender. Regulate the heat if need be—the cauliflower should brown only slightly—and stir from time to time to ensure even cooking. (Remove the garlic clove if it browns too much.)

When the cauliflower is just about done, add a mixture of equal parts chopped parsley, pinoli nuts and raisins (which you will have softened in lukewarm water for about 15 minutes or so and drained).  Season with salt and pepper, mix well and continue cooking until the cauliflower is tender.

Notes

The combination of sweet and savory is not a very common one in Italian cooking, but it works very nicely here. Raisins are often a sign of oriental influence. They feature in southern Italian cooking— particularly in Sicily, where the Moorish influence is strong—as well as in Venice, which carried on an active trade with the Near East.

Since we were out of pinoli nuts at home, I used roasted Mexican pumpkin seeds known as pepitas. There were an excellent substitute and perfectly delicious.

A recipe for Neapolitan style cauliflower is contained in the classic tome, La cucina napoletana by J.C. Franscesconi (recipe 527 on page 534).

Cavolfiore alla napoletana (Neapolitan-Style Cauliflower)

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: Serves 4-6

Cavolfiore alla napoletana (Neapolitan-Style Cauliflower)

Ingredients

  • A head of cauliflower
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • Olive oil
  • A handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • A handful of pinoli nuts
  • A handful of raisins, soaked in lukewarm water until soft
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. You begin by lightly boiling a trimmed head of cauliflower for 5-10 minutes, depending on its size, draining it and letting it cool a bit.
  2. Then cut the head into flowerets, dividing the largest ones so all of them are of more or less equal size. You can cut up the stem as well—which is perfectly edible as well—into sections.
  3. Allow the flowerets to braise over gentle heat in some olive oil and a clove of garlic for about 20 minutes, or until just tender. Regulate the heat if need be—the cauliflower should brown only slightly—and stir from time to time to ensure even cooking. (Remove the garlic clove if it browns too much.)
  4. When the cauliflower is just about done, add a mixture of equal parts chopped parsley, pinoli nuts and raisins (which you will have softened in lukewarm water for about 15 minutes or so and drained). Season with salt and pepper, mix well and continue cooking until the cauliflower is tender.
http://memoriediangelina.com/2010/01/31/cavolfiore-alla-napoletana/

Comments

  1. Lovely — hooray for the power of cauliflower! I was just telling Salty Seattle the other day that it's one of the rare veggies I'll enjoy both raw and cooked. Roasts up so nicely!

  2. I love cauliflower and this is a gorgeous traditional recipe.

    I did not know this recipe but it reminds of Cavolfiore alla Molisana, where simply poached cauliflower is dressed with sweet Mosto Cotto and just a little hint of vinegar.

    I very much enjoy the sweet/sour combination and I too have half a cauliflower (lol), so I'll be making this tonight.

  3. I am loving all these veggie dishes you're posting lately! Funny, before you mentioned it, the raisins in the dish made me think of that Sicilian pasta dish with cauliflower & raisins. Yum!

  4. always looking for a new way to cook cauliflower and this is it – I know I'm gonna love this one … nice texture and flavor

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