Easy Saturday cooking

Saturday cooking. When the week is over and although the workload might not exactly be finished, there’s nothing I love more than a bit of Saturday lunchtime pottering in the kitchen. At the moment I’ve got Pellegrino Artusi’s Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well on the kitchen worktop, along with a cookery magazine supplement dedicated to meatballs and 1001 Ricette della Nonna (1001 Grandma’s Recipes). But today I had a cauliflower and I went to Artusi.

Artusi’s book was published in 1891 and is a literary classic in the world of Italian food. He gathers together recipes from all over Italy into what he subtitles “a practical guide for families.” This practical guide for families involves avoiding pneumonia, tips for aiding digestion and going to bed early according to an English proverb “Early to bed and early to rise, Makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” Then come the recipes, all 790 of them, and his guide to seasonal dishes. Obviously Artusi was writing at a time when the only produce available was seasonal, but for us it’s a good reminder to stick to seasonal as seasonal is quite simply better.

Today I chose Cavolfiore all’uso di Romagna, or rather Cavolfiore Romanesco all’uso di Romagna, as the cauliflower was of the Roman variety which is sometimes called broccoli and sometimes cauliflower, and the way of preparing is typical to Romagna as in Emilia Romagna. Chopped garlic and parsley are fried quickly in oil, and you can play about with the quantities until you find the balance you like. Add a bit of water to cover the bottom of the pan, add your cauliflower in florets and cook with the lid on until they’ve started to become coated. Then add a small amount of good quality tinned tomatoes. If you can’t get good quality tinned tomatoes, and I stress the good quality as it does make a huge difference, I’d just use a bit of passata to give that tomato flavour. Continue to simmer with the lid on, although really it’s a cross between a simmer and a steam, and then serve.

Ecco. And that’s your Cavolfiore all’uso di Romagna. Easy Saturday cooking, and delicious. Here is mine, and the thing I love about Artusi’s book is that because of when it was written, there are no pictures. So you never know whether yours looks like his did, presuming that he ever cooked it, but maybe that adds to the beauty of it. We all add our individual touch, and that’s precisely what I love about easy Saturday cooking.

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