Halve the cauliflower lengthwise (from flowery top to stem). Halve it again lengthwise. Trim any leaves from the bottom but leave the core in tact. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil to a very wide, high-sided pan/pot. (This will be your one-stop shop for searing, then making the stew.) Set the pan over medium-high heat. Add the cauliflower quarters and brown on all sides (even the flowery tops!). We’re just going for the color here—we don’t need it to cook through. Transfer to a plate and sprinkle with salt. Leave the pan on the heat!
Add another 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pan. Add the onion and bell pepper. Season with salt and stir. Sauté, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, until the vegetables are soft and starting to caramelize. Add the garlic and stir. Cook for about 1 minute until fragrant. Add the butter. Let melt, then stir to incorporate. Add the paprika and cayenne and stir. Cook for a couple minutes to toast the spices. Add the flour and stir. Add the tomatoes and stir. Add the water and stir.
Drop the heat to medium-low and nestle the cauliflower quarters in the paprikash sauce. Cover the pan. Simmer until the cauliflower is as tender as you like it. Season the sauce to taste with salt. Just before serving, stir in the yogurt. Garnish with parsley. Serve with buttered egg noodles.
Emma is a writer and recipe developer at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles "on the fly," baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., reviewing restaurants, and writing articles about everything from how to use leftover mashed potatoes to the history of pies in North Carolina. Now she lives in Maplewood, New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's cooking column, Big Little Recipes, all about big flavor and little ingredient lists. And see what she's up to on Instagram and Twitter at @emmalaperruque.