Sunday, August 25, 2013

Cauliflower Pepperoni Casserole

KK found a great bargain for early bird Thai food on Friday night.  We met a friend at Pinto at 5:45 (deal ended at 6!) and each enjoyed a drink (alcoholic or non-alcoholic), appetizer, and entree for $15.  What a steal!  Along with it being an amazing deal, Pinto is also very PATH-friendly for those coming from Jersey.  Dinner was quicker than we expected, so we grabbed a quick beer at Lederhosen before heading deep into Brooklyn (Crown Heights) for my co-worker friend's birthday.  We hung out at his apartment for awhile before migrating to Franklin Park; we enjoyed the unseasonably cool summer weather on the bar's large outdoor patio.  Friday was the highlight of the weekend; KK and I spent the remainder of the weekend catching up on sleep, errands, and cleaning.

I did, however, get to have my first experience cooking with cauliflower.  Along with broccoli, I tend to avoid cauliflower when it's an option on a crudite platter.  That being said, I was slightly intrigued because the guy I used to sit next to at work was into Paleo for awhile, and he constantly talked about the different things he and his girlfriend cooked up using cauliflower as a base.  When KK added this to the menu rotation, I was excited yet nervous to give it a try.  I had a little trouble pureeing the cauliflower, perhaps because my blender wasn't working properly and my food processor was too small.  I strongly recommend using a properly functioning blender because I had to use a hand blender and that got a little messy (picture flying cauliflower puree - whoops).  Casserole assembly was simple, and it looked nicely crisped on the edges in 20 minutes.  I've updated the ingredient list below because I recommend adding a bit of seasoning to the cauliflower crust.  KK and I easily finished this by ourselves, but it would serve 4-6 as a side dish.

Cauliflower Pepperoni Casserole

Adapted from I Breathe... I'm Hungry...
Time: 40 minutes
Serves: 2

1 medium head of cauliflower
4 Tbsp evaporated milk
1 Tbsp butter
20 slices pepperoni, divided
¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
Salt and pepper, to taste
Italian seasoning, to taste
Cooking spray

1. Clean and trim the cauliflower, breaking it into medium sized pieces.  Place in a microwave safe bowl with evaporated milk and butter.  Microwave uncovered for 10 minutes on high.  Stir to coat, then microwave for another 6 minutes.  Cauliflower should be tender.

2.  Preheat oven to 375.

3. Place cauliflower into a blender or food processor; add 8 slices of pepperoni and 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese. Puree mixture until smooth. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.

4. Grease an 8x8 oven-safe casserole dish with cooking spray, and spread cauliflower puree evenly over the bottom of the dish.  Cover with 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, and layer with remaining pepperoni. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.  Serve hot.

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