I love my emails from La Cucina Italiana. In fact, they may be just about the only non-family-and-friends emails I do like.

I’m getting old and crotchety. Constant barrages of Buy Now! Save! Limited Time Offer! and Exclusive! Just For You! drive me up the friggin’ wall. Contrary to the statement that the more I spend, the more I save, the less I spend, the more I save. I get enough alternative facts from The White House – I don’t need them in my inbox.

As I hit delete without ever opening, I do stop and look at La Cucina. I may not make anything they’re highlighting, but it gives me a few minutes to remember where I’d rather be – under an olive tree in Sicily…

Because the emails are all in Italian, I rely on my limited Italian, pictures, and Google Translate to get the gist of them. It can lead to some interesting reads and occasional confusion.

Today, there was a recipe for a cauliflower cheesecake. How could it possibly be bad? Only thing was – I didn’t have any cauliflower. Or robiola cheese. I did, however, have broccoli. And Boursin. A plan was in the making.

Here’s the recipe – translated by Google:

Cauliflower Cheesecake with Anchovy

  • cauliflower florets 400 gr
  • robiola 200 gr
  • creamy white cheese 150 gr
  • rusks 100 gr
  • fresh cream 50 gr
  • butter plus a little ’40 gr
  • nonfat yogurt 20 gr
  • Flour 15 gr
  • 2 eggs
  • anchovy
  • salt
  • pepper

Set aside a few houseline cauliflower to complete, the rest do not boil it in salted boiling water for 6-8 ‘. Drain the florets and cut into slices. Crumble the toasted slices with butter and impastatele getting the bricioloni. Lined with parchment paper the bottom of a springform pan (ø 19 cm, h 8 cm) and buttered the edges.

Spread the butter mixture on the bottom and partly on the edge, pressing so that good compact. Mix the soft cheese with the cream cheese and flour; then add the yogurt, cream, eggs, salt and pepper: you will get a fairly liquid cream.

Spread a thin layer of cream in the mold then add the cauliflower slices, cover with the rest of the cream cheese and bake at 180 ° C for 35-40 ‘. Remove from the oven, let cool, misshapen, completed with raw florets kept aside and cut into slices with a few drops of anchovy. Then served sliced.

After you’ve done this for a while, it actually makes sense. Grams to ounces is extremely easy – we learned this conversion back in the ’70s – and the rest of it is just using your basic cooking skills.

My version took on a bit of a twist… Broccoli and mushrooms in place of the Cauliflower, Boursin in place of robiola, breadcrumbs and panko mixed in place of the rusk, no yogurt, and no anchovy.

I used a 6″ springform pan, baked at 350°F for 40 minutes, and probably could have let it go another 10 minutes. But the flavor was outstanding!

I also topped it with some of the leftover breadcrumbs from the base. Extra crunch is always good.

And then to compliment the cheesecake, I made an Italianesque Pot Roast. Red wine, tomatoes, basil, oregano, radicchio, onion, porcini mushrooms… the basic flavors…

I plated everything up and called Nonna in for dinner. I was a bit unsure of how she was going to react since she generally doesn’t like new things, and her first reaction was what?!? cheesecake for dinner?!? when I told her it was a broccoli cheesecake. She didn’t say anything, pushed it around her plate a bit – and then proceeded to all but lick her plate clean.

She liked it. A lot.

And it was good! Very simple to put together and really worth the time to make.

I can see this concept used for any number of vegetables – and since it’s served room temperature or cold, summer’s going to be fun!