Cauliflower and Chicken Sausage Casserole
Serves 4 to 6
medium head cauliflower (about 2 pounds)
- 1 teaspoon
- 1 tablespoon
olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 8 ounces
uncooked herbed chicken sausage or spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
medium onion, diced
- 4 cloves
Leaves from 2 fresh thyme sprigs
- 1 (28-ounce) can
whole peeled tomatoes, drained and liquid reserved
- 2/3 cup
- 1/4 cup
grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground pepper
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Lightly coat a 9x13-inch baking dish with olive oil; set aside.
Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, cut the cauliflower head into quarters. Cut away the leaves and stem. With an angled cut, cut away the core from each quarter of the cauliflower head. Cut the cauliflower into bite-sized florets about 1-inch wide.
Add the cauliflower florets and salt to the water and boil for 2 minutes. Drain into a colander set in the sink. Run cold water over the florets to stop the cooking process. Shake the colander to drain any excess water. Return the cauliflower to the pot and set aside.
Heat the oil a 10-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the sausage and use a wooden spoon to break up the meat into small pieces. Cook until the sausage is cooked through and beginning to get crispy, 8 to 12 minutes. If using chicken sausage, there should not be a great deal of fat in the pan, but if using Italian sausage, drain all but 1 to 2 tablespoons of fat but return the sausage to the pan.
Lower the heat to medium-low and add the onion, garlic, and thyme. Sauté, stirring frequently and scraping up any browned bits at the bottom of the pan, for 5 to 6 minutes. Crush the tomatoes with your hands, add them to the pan, and stir to combine. Add the reserved tomato juices and cook for about 5 minutes more. Turn off the heat, taste, and season with salt and pepper as needed.
Transfer the sauce to the pot with the cauliflower and stir to combine. Transfer to the baking dish and spread into an even layer. Mix the bread crumbs and Parmesan together in a small bowl, then sprinkle them evenly over the cauliflower. Drizzle lightly with a little more olive oil.
Bake until breadcrumbs are browned and the sauce is bubbling, about 25 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.