Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sformato di Cavolfiore

When I saw this recipe in La Cucina Italiana, I was intrigued because a sformata was something new and different to me. It’s a baked, savory custard, but it’s not terribly rich. It’s mostly pureed, cooked cauliflower with bechamel sauce and parmigiano cheese. In the magazine, the sformato was baked in a pretty, wide tube pan the likes of which I do not own, so I used a bundt pan. Really, it could have been baked in any sort of pan, and it wasn’t entirely necessary that it be unmolded, but I was hoping for a nice view of the browned outer surface. The browning was due to a coating of breadcrumbs that was sprinkled onto a thick layer of butter in the pan before pouring in the custard. Considering that I was so eager to see this well-browned surface, you would think that I would have let it set the appropriate amount of time before trying to remove it from the pan. No, I rushed it out of hunger, and my sformata was a little wobbly because of it. As it sat, it firmed up, and next time I’ll have more patience, but the good news is that it very easily plopped right out of the pan. Presentation aside, the reason I’m going on so much about this dish is because the taste was fantastic. The creamy texture of the custard with the parmigiano flavor running throughout was delicious with a bit of crunch from the breadcrumbs.

To begin, a head of cauliflower was quartered and cooked, covered, in a pan with an inch of water for about 20 minutes. It was drained, and each quarter was placed in a towel, and the towel was twisted to remove excess water. The dried cauliflower was pureed in a food processor. A simple bechamel sauce was made, and I melted the parmigiano into the sauce. The sauce was cooled a bit before being added to the cauliflower puree along with two eggs. Once the sauce, eggs, and cauliflower were combined, the resulting custard was poured into a generously buttered and breadcrumbed bundt pan, and it baked for 40 minutes. I should have let it rest for an additional 20 minutes, but I got antsy after about 10 minutes and turned it out onto a platter. The shape held up ok, but I realized that it firmed up a bit more after sitting another 10 minutes or so.

The texture was light and almost fluffy with a sliver of crust on the outside. The cauliflower was mild allowing the flavor of the parmigiano to take the lead. This keeper of a dish even held up well to re-heating the next day. I was delighted with the result, and it’s always fun when something looks far more complicated than it is.





24 comments:

  1. That looks just beautiful! We had a couple of sformati when we were living in Italy, and they were always, always delicious and stunning. I'm happy to hear that they're so straightforward to make - I'll have to add it to my request list for Logan! :-)

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  2. Your sformati looks delicious and beautiful. Growing up in an Italian household, sformati was a regular menu item. My mother mostly made one with spinach, which was quite delicious, too. I'll have to make one this week now that I'm thinking of it. Hope I can find my recipe. Thanks for the trip down culinary memory lane.

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  3. That's something new and different to me too! You have just created another unique dish!

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  4. That dish is interesting! It looks so delicious!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  5. Your dish looks great even if you unmolded it too soon. I love sformati of any kind but you're right - if you wait to unmold it, you'll have better luck. Or make it ahead of time and reheat it the next day.

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  6. Hmmm... interesting this one is new to me. looks really delicious. I need to get me some cauliflower.

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  7. It looks beautiful and very tasty!

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  8. Wow! I have never heard of this dish -- it looks pretty and delicious to me, even if it was originally wobbily!!

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  9. I have never heard of this dish either...

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  10. Yum, this looks really delicious. My children hate cauliflour but I think they would eat this.

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  11. dear sformato,

    nice to make your acquaintance. if we ever meet in person, i hope you're not offended when i shove you directly into my mouth. :)

    sincerely,
    grace

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  12. I have had this recipe bookmarked in the magazine, I will now make it.
    I saw the title and got excited! I love cauliflower.

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  13. This is very special indeed, nice to know another way of using cauliflower!

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  14. I've never heard of this before, Lisa, but I would be first in line to have a plateful. Always love new veggie ideas and you must admit we don't get too many for cauliflower! Which I love, by the way.
    Am copying this now and can't wait to try it.

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  15. The second I saw your picture I thought "What kind of deliciousness is this?" Frankly, I'm pleasantly surprised that it doesn't seem too difficult (for me). This might perhaps be the only way I can ever get Mr. Snooty to eat cauliflower. Of course, I won't tell him that it has cauliflower...

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  16. Wow a very intriguing recipe with cauliflower, definitely a must try!

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  17. This looks so yummy - I looked at the picture and immediately assumed it was sweet and not savory but you have me so intrigued and cannot wait to try. Thanks for introducing me to this amazing sounding dish.

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  18. At first, I thought this was some wonderful cake! But wow, even better, a savory custard-like dish. It's so fancy looking. It would be lovely on the holiday table.

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  19. I love Cucina Italiana, so many amazing recipes!

    This one is a winner for sure, I'm going to try it, possibly this weekend

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  20. This is the first time I've heard of sformata and it looks savoury and tasty from your photos :)

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  21. I have never seen this dish before. It looks really good.

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  22. I'm always flustered with cauliflower. I try to make it into something special and always fail to come up with anything. This might just be it. I'm not familiar with sformata - very much looking forward to try this. Was just thinking about a big Sunday night dinner and I'll give this a try. good the hear its easier than it looks, though, unfortunately, like you in this instance I am a very impatient cook!

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  23. I have never heard of this. Not even sure I can say it right. But we love our cauliflower, and this is another unique beautiful dish to try.

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  24. Came to you today via your listing in the foodie blogroll. Very nicely designed blog and well-executed recipes. Your Daisy Martinez pavo look delicious -- as does this sformata. I love presenting food in unexpected ways.

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