I’m in love with roasted vegetables. They brown at the edges and get so sweet and delicious. Way tastier than steaming or sauteeing them, definitely. What I love even more than their flavor though is how much easier they are to make than any other preparation. When you steam of sauté vegetables the timing is really specific; even a minute too long can result in overcooked mush. You have to stand over them, watching and stirring to make sure that they don’t overcook.
With roasted vegetables, you can walk away. I set a timer so I don’t forget about them though.
When the timer beeps, if I’m free, I check them and, if ready, I take them out. If when the timer beeps I’m in the middle of coloring with the kids or chatting with G or folding a stack of laundry, I leave them in the oven longer knowing that they’ll be fine. Roasted veggies are simply more forgiving than other types. A few extra minutes can even make them better since more time means more browning.
My favorite roasted vegetable is roasted cauliflower. I never used to be a huge fan of cauliflower at all but roasting it was like a gateway drug. I became addicted to it roasted and then started to love it every other way. And while I now do all kinds of things with cauliflower (I even mashed it with chicken to make healthy chicken nuggets), I always go back to what got me hooked, sometimes adding some new flavors to keep it interesting. I do a curried version by adding curry powder before roasting. Other times I make garlic roasted cauliflower by tossing chopped garlic in for the last few minutes of cooking. And sometimes I make Italian Roasted Cauliflower, like today’s recipe.
To make it you whisk together tomato paste, olive oil and a bit of dijon mustard. Note that the oil won’t fully incorporate. That’s o.k.. It might even be a good thing since I think that’s why some bits of tomato paste stay separate on the cauliflower and end up browning more.
Then you add parmesan cheese and seasonings before combining the mixture with cauliflower florets. Bake until it’s slightly darkened in spots and has the desired tenderness. For me, I like it not quite fork-tender, about 20-25 minutes at 425F. If you like it softer, you might want to roast it for longer at a slightly lower temperature so that it doesn’t get too dark before it gets soft enough.
If you like the idea of this roasted cauliflower, I bet you’re going to love this Whole Roasted Broccoli Recipe. In the recipe you’ll learn how to peel broccoli stalks and how to cook them whole.
And now back to that cauliflower!