Vruoccoli Affucati

Stewed Cauliflower

Cauliflower is very popular in Sicily and crops up in all sorts of recipes. The local vegetable has a brilliant emerald green colouring and a much stronger flavour than your average cauliflower, but even the whitest and most bland vegetable will be revived after being stewed in red wine with olives, anchovies, onions and cheese!


  • 800 g (1 lb 10 oz) cauliflower, divided into florets
  • 1 large onion, finely sliced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 salted anchovies, filleted and washed
  • 55 g (2 oz) pecorino or Parmesan cheese, chopped coarsely
  • 12 black olives, stoned
  • salt
  • 1 glass, about 115 ml (4 fl oz) red wine


Blanch the cauliflower in boiling water for 60 seconds. Drain and set aside. Fry the onion in the olive oil. In Italy a flameproof terracotta pot is used, which can then go straight to the table. Chop the anchovies and add half to the onion, then add 1 tablespoon of the cheese and 4 chopped olives.

Cover this mixture with cauliflower florets. Chop the remaining olives and scatter a few over the cauliflower, add a little anchovy and dust with cheese. Sprinkle with salt, cover with more cauliflower, then more olives, anchovies, cheese and a little olive oil. Continue layering until you have used up all the ingredients. Cover with the red wine, sprinkle with a last dribble of olive oil and cover with a close-fitting lid. Place on the stove to simmer very slowly for about 45 minutes. This is an ideal dish for the slowest corner of a solid-fuel cooker. Or if you have a heat diffuser plate, use it – the temperature should be well below boiling. Do not stir or disturb the layers.

Serve hot or cold with plenty of coarse country-style bread or garlic bread made with olive oil.