When I was a kid, I had a list a mile or two long full of foods I. Could. Not. Stand. Though some of those foods (hello, brussels sprouts and lima beans) are still sitting pretty atop the list today, there are many more that I’ve grown accustomed to. Gone are the days when the only vegetables I touched were broccoli, peas and green beans. Now I’ve ventured into spinach, lettuce, and (gasp!) cauliflower.
Let the record show I still don’t really like this white, broccoli wannabe. Except in this. With a little help from Mollie Katzen, my Aunt Leigh made a believer out of me. Cauliflower Marranca is a casserole in the best sense of the word, and one bite might make a believer out of you too. It can complement any entree under the sun, unless you’re feeling lazy, in which case, it can be the star of the show. I like to start the brown rice right when I get home from work, and then put the casserole together once my husband gets home. The beauty of this dish is in the innumerable ways you can prepare it. It calls for 1 lb. of mushrooms and 2 C of cheese. See how there are no specifics there? You can make it once with your favorites, and then spice things up as you go. Tired of cremini mushrooms? Throw in some shiitakes, even portobellos if this is going to be your main course. Have some fontina or gruyere leftover from a grilled cheese sandwich? Shred the rest of it and throw it in the casserole. You’ll always have something different, and you never know when you’ll run into a new favorite.
To make 6 servings of Cauliflower Marranca*, you will need:
- 3 C cooked brown rice (I prepare 1 1/2 C raw rice and sometimes have leftovers)
- 1 lb. mushrooms, sliced
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 T butter (I use unsalted, but either is fine)
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 large head cauliflower, in flower pieces
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- about 1/4 C basil, cut into a chiffonade
- 2 C grated cheese (my favorite combination is 1 C of something more mild like monterey jack or mozzarella and 1 C of something stronger like extra sharp cheddar or gruyere)