I'm going to start off with the picture.
Now, at a brief glance or from a distance, this looks like meat sauce. I brought leftovers for lunch and my coworkers were confused. It is not meat. It is cauliflower. Apparently, if you chop up cauliflower and cook it in tomato sauce, it ends up looking like ground beef. So that's weird.
But this was delicious! It did take a LOT longer to simmer than I had anticipated. Even after an hour, it still wasn't the right thickness. I'd actually decrease the amount of water next time to make it thicker. I also added some extra Italian seasoning. It was delicious and I really liked it a lot. And reheated very well!
Italian Cauliflower Sauce
1 medium head cauliflower
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 6-ounce cans tomato paste
5 cups water
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt, to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon oregano and/or basil
Clean the cauliflower and cut into small pieces, leaving some stem attached. Coat the cauliflower well with olive oil, using 2-4 tablespoons or more, as desired. Check that it is all coated so it doesn't burn. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the cauliflower, cook, stirring and turning occasionally, until it starts to brown a bit, 5-10 minutes depending on how much cauliflower is in the pan. Cover, reduce the heat a bit and let cook a little longer until it is nearly done but not soft (al dente). Add the tomato paste and stir it into the cauliflower well, then add water. Fill the paste cans with some of the water to get out every bit of paste. Sti to combine, add sugar, salt, pepper, and oregano or basil. Raise heat to medium high, bring to a boil, then turn down to low to simmer, uncovered, until it has reduced to the thickness you desire. Serve over small-sized pasta and top with Parmesan cheese.
Yield: 4-6 servings