Looking for an easy side dish? Grab some Parmigiano Reggiano and make a batch of this Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower!
Cheese is an amazing thing! Come on, who’s with me here? I love pretty much all types of cheese…yes, even those stinky soft cheeses, too. (On a side note, those stinky soft cheeses spread on freshly baked Italian bread are a thing of magic!) I’m pretty sure I could live on cheddar, especially if it’s a good sharp cheddar. But this post is all about the hard cheeses. More specifically, this post is about Parmigiano Reggiano.
I don’t know about you, but I refer to Parmigiano Reggiano as Parmesan cheese. But it’s not. Parmesan is a broader term that includes not only Parmigiano Reggiano, but also imitation Parmesan cheeses, too. My wife is half-Italian, and she taught me long ago to avoid those cans of “shake cheese.” They might be labeled Parmesan, but there’s just no comparison between a can of shake cheese and freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Seriously…try a taste test for yourself sometime. Grate some fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano. Shake some shake cheese on a plate. Taste each one, and then let me know what you think. For me, Parmigiano-Reggiano wins that race by a mile…and the race was only a mile long to begin with!
So what’s the deal with the names anyways? Well, the term ‘Parmigiano Reggiano’ is actually strictly regulated under both Italian and European laws. You can’t just slap that name on any cheese. You might have heard of D.O.C. (Denomination of Controlled Origin) laws? These laws are in place to protect the authenticity of traditional Italian foods. Parmigiano Reggiano, olive oils, Italian wines…they all have rules and guidelines that must be followed in order to earn the D.O.C. label. And if you see that label, then you know you’re getting the real thing!
On a side note, Italian truffles are not currently regulated by D.O.C. laws. My wife and I went truffle-hunting with some local hunters when we were in Italy earlier this year, and the truffle industry really needs the same regulations that exist for other Italian foods!
Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower
This whole side story about D.O.C. and Parmigiano Reggiano is just a build up to say…use the real deal cheese when making this Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower! I know Parmigiano Reggiano is more expensive than shake cheese, but stop and think about why. Yeah, you want to get the real thing!
We keep a block of Parmigiano Reggiano (we still call it Parmesan) in the fridge at all times. We just pull it out, grate off whatever we need, wrap it back up in paper towels, pat the paper towels until they’re damp and then wrap the block back up in foil. It lasts a surprisingly long time that way! In fact, instead of going bad, it just gets really hard. Usually we only have a small amount left by that point, so we chop it up and toss it into soups or stews for added flavor.
But back to this Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower. It’s delicious! And it’s surprisingly easy. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the biggest fan of cauliflower. But roast it up until it gets slightly crunchy with those little burnt flecks on top? I’ll eat the entire head of cauliflower! I find that roasted cauliflower actually has a bit of a buttery flavor. Strange since there’s no butter in the recipe at all. But give this Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower a shot and see what you think! It’s an easy and tasty side dish for sure. Cheers, friends!
Oh, and if you make a batch of this Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower, then come back and share your thoughts? Or tag me (@Spicedblog) in a photo on Instagram. I’d love to see your creation!
Looking for more tasty roasted veggie recipes? Check these out, too:
Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower
- 1 head cauliflower cut into florets
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- ½ Tbsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ⅔ cup Parmesan cheese grated (see note)
- 1½ Tbsp fresh parsley minced
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Using a large bowl, add cauliflower florets, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper; toss until well coated.
- Spread cauliflower onto a parchment-lined baking pan; bake for 30 minutes, or until florets are almost tender.
- Remove pan from oven and sprinkle cauliflower with Parmesan cheese and minced parsley. Return pan to oven and continue baking for 5-10 more minutes.