A traditional side dish of Sicily is Bastaddi affucati, a Sicilian type of purple cauliflower braised with wine. I got the inspiration to try this dish from Viaggiando con Bea. Since bastaddu (in Sicilian, bastardo in Italian) is difficult to find outside of Sicily, the version with regular cauliflower (cavolfiore) is more widespread. Affucatu (affogato in Italian) means ‘drowned’, referring to the fact that the cauliflower is braised with wine. As with all traditional Italian recipes, many versions exist. The main ingredients are cauliflower (also substituted with broccoli), some type of onions, wine (red or white), and sheep’s cheese. The original sheep’s cheese is called pepato, a pecorino from Sicily with pepper corns. Traditionally the onions are spring onions, but many version use regular white or red onions. Other ingredients include olives (green or black), anchovies, raisins, pine kernels, and capers. Although usually a side dish, it can also be served as antipasto or even as a vegetarian main course. It can be served warm or cold.
I served my version of cavolfiore affogato at room temperature as a side dish to a nice dry aged ribeye steak (cooked sous-vide and then seared) with a red wine sauce. Since I had no pepato, I used a good aged pecorino and added freshly ground black pepper instead. Key to the success of this dish is to cook the cauliflower evenly. It should be tender but still firm. To concentrate the flavors, you should use as little water as possible without burning or even browning the cauliflower. This means that it has to cook over low heat with a tight fitting lid.
1 cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 anchovy fillets, or the equivalent in anchovy paste
1 Tbsp minced black olives
2 Tbsp olive oil
120 ml (1/2 cup) red wine
salt and freshly ground black pepper
40 grams (4 Tbsp) freshly grated aged pecorino cheese
Two years ago I tried a recipe from a fellow blogger: pasta with cabbage and gorgonzola, and liked it very much. It is a great way to use up cabbage and it is the caraway seeds that takes it over the top.