You love roasted vegetables but want to dress them up so that they eat a little more “extra.” Luckily for you, you adore Parmesan cheese so much that you always keep a piece of carefully wrapped Parmigiano-Reggiano in the fridge. The solution seems obvious here: Grate some Parm onto your cauliflower/broccoli/carrots/squash/sweet potatoes, roast, eat, and smile.
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10 ingredients. 45 minutes. Quick, easy, and fresh weeknight recipes.
Sorry, but it’s not quite that easy. You see, vegetables exude moisture when you roast them. That’s kind of the point of cooking them that way: to drive off a bit of moisture to concentrate their flavor and texture (and pick up flavorful browning). And that steamy moisture washes whatever Parm you’ve sprinkled on them right off.
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Sure, you can grate cheese over your fully cooked roasted vegetables, but that turns the cheese into a garnish and not an integrated ingredient. So what do you do? Well, you need a binder. But wet ingredients, such as eggs or milk, don’t work as a binder for the cheese here (we’ve tested them, and they don’t help the Parm stick).
Instead, open your pantry and reach for an ingredient that most of us keep around: cornstarch.
When developing the recipe for Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower, former Cook’s Country test cook Alli Berkey hit upon this great technique.
For 2 pounds of cauliflower florets:
- Stir together a coating of 1½ cups of grated Parmesan and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch (you can easily halve those numbers for similarly great results).
- Toss the florets with 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil and then with the cheese-cornstarch mix.
- Roast the florets on a rimmed baking sheet (sprayed with vegetable oil spray first) at 450 degrees for about 20 minutes, flipping the florets at the 15-minute mark.
Parmesan Roasted CauliflowerAre your roasted vegetables in need of a boost? Parm to the rescue.
Cornstarch is often used to control moisture in recipes, and that’s exactly what it does here; as the liquid is pushed out of the roasting cauliflower, the cornstarch absorbs it and, along with the grated Parm, creates a coating that stays put and browns up beautifully against the hot baking sheet. It seems counterintuitive, but cornstarch works like a dream here to adhere the cheese to the roasted cauliflower.
This technique works with most any vegetable that cooks through in a similar amount of time (potatoes are a great option). Try it for yourself and see!