Purple cauliflower is typical of Southern Italy and Sicily in particular. It’s a rare variant of the common cauliflower obtained by crossing cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli. Because of its purple colour, it’s rich in anthocyanins, just as orange cauliflower is coloured by carotenoids and green cauliflower has the same phytochemical that makes broccoli green-coloured.

It is excellent boiled or just blanched then cooked au gratin in the oven as we have done here, enriched with two extraordinary cheeses such as Mild Italian Provolone. Perfect to serve both as contorno / side-dish or a main course.

Serves 2-3, Preparation 15 mins, Cooking 30 mins

  • 1 head Purple Cauliflower
  • Grated Parmigiano, 2 tbsp
  • Mild Provolone Cheese Slices, 50g
  • EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 2 tsbp
  • a knob of unsalted butter
  • Salt and Black Pepper, to taste


Pre-heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

Peel off the toughest white part of the stalks and then cut into florets.

Bring plenty of unsalted water to the boil and boil the cauliflower florets for about 10 to 15 minutes, then drain and place in a colander.

Grease an ovenproof dish with two tablespoons of EVOO, place the florets, add salt and pepper, a generous sprinkling of grated Parmigiano cheese and stir, add slices of Mild Provolone cheese, some breadcrumbs or another sprinkling of Parmigiano cheese, a drizzle of oil and a few knobs of butter and place in the oven for about 15 minutes or until cheeses melt.

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