Affogato means drowned or smothered or choked in Italian, and which ever way you look at it, in this recipe the cauliflower has been killed off in red wine.
My grandmother Maria was born in Catania and this was one of her ways of cooking cauliflower (called VRUOCCULI AFFUCATI in Sicilian)
The cauliflower is cut into thin slices and assembled in layers: cauliflower, sprinkled with a layer of slivers of pecorino, thinly sliced onion and anchovies. Some recipes also include stoned black olives.
Although the coloured cauliflowers or broccoli can also be used for this recipe, I like the white cauliflower because it becomes rose- tinted by the red wine.
I compress the assembled ingredients, cover it with a circle of baking paper, an ovenproof plate and then put a weight on top (see photo).
It is cooked slowly until all the liquid evaporates and then it can be turned out and sliced like a cake. You may also like to use a non- stick saucepan or as I often do, place a circle of baking paper at the bottom of the pan to ensure that the “cake” does not stick to the bottom. Many recipes add water as the cauliflower is cooking to prevent it from burning, but if you cook it on very gentle heat and in a good quality saucepan with a heavy base, it may not be necessary.
VRUOCCULI AFFUCATI are especially suitable as an accompaniment to a strong tasting dish. Usually it is presented at room temperature or cold (I can remember the left over cauliflower being particularly satisfying as a stuffing for a panino).