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Sausage and Cauliflower Casserole - Gratin di Salsiccia e Cavolfiore

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Cauliflower is one of the princes of the winter vegetable market, and it combines beautifully with sausages to yield a tasty sausage and cauliflower casserole. To serve 4:

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 pound (300 g) fresh sausages, casings removed and crumbled
  • 2 small cauliflowers
  • 2 eggs
  • A large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/4 pound (100 g) Swiss cheese, grated
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

Set a pot of water to boil, and while it's heating strip the leaves from the cauliflowers. Salt the water lightly, acidulate it with the vinegar, and simmer the cauliflower heads for 10 minutes. Drain them, separate the florets, and chop the stems into bite-sized pieces.

While the cauliflower is blanching, sauté the chopped onion in the olive oil. When it becomes translucent add the crumbled sausages and continue cooking until the meat is lightly browned. Mix the tomato paste with 3/4 cup of hot water and add it to the saucepot. Mix well, cover, and simmer the sauce for 20 minutes.

In the meantime preheat your oven to 360 F (180 C). While it's heating butter an oven dish large enough to contain the ingredients and line the bottom with a layer of cauliflower. Follow it with some of the sausage mixture and some of the cheese, and continue alternating until all is used up: the top layer should be the sausage mixture. Dot the top of the casserole with the butter.

Next, lightly beat the eggs with the cream and season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste. Spread the cream over the casserole and bake it for a half hour. Serve hot, with a medium-bodied red wine, for example a Montepulciano D'Abruzzo.

Yield: 4 servings sausage and cauliflower casserole.

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