A lighter alternative to mashed potatoes, this bakes up creamy and a bit puffy, with a texture similar to a soft polenta. It makes a fantastic neutral backdrop to rich meat dishes, like the roasted pork shoulder or the veal shoulder with porcini mushrooms.

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Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the dish
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (16-ounce) container whole-milk ricotta
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Method

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish with butter. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the cauliflower and blanch until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain the cauliflower and transfer immediately to a food processor. Add the 4 tablespoons butter, season with salt and pepper, and puree until smooth. Pour the cauliflower puree into a large mixing bowl and whisk in the ricotta, egg yolks, Parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and bake until the pudding is golden brown and nearly firm in the center, about 50 minutes. Serve warm.

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