creamy cauliflower and pasta
I love cauliflower. Raw, cooked, in cheese sauce, and especially in this pasta. Luckily, my husband, who is usually cauliflower-averse, also likes this pasta. The cauliflower is meant to be creamy and fall-apart tender. Really it just melts in with the pasta and Parmesan. I made this once before, but didn't cook the florets long enough--trust me, you don't want the cauliflower tender-crisp in this case. I also added in a can of diced tomatoes this time, which added to the pizza-type flavor of this dish along with the garlic, oregano, and cheese. I used the end of a block of Wisconsin Parmesan to top the pasta, but recently I bought a chunk of Parmesan from Hook's cheese out of Mineral Point. It's by far the best Parmesan I've ever tasted and would have made this meal even better. Alongside a piece of baguette slathered with roasted garlic, the whole wheat pasta and cauliflower made this a hearty (and fairly healthy) winter meal.
Every time I browse through my favorite cookbook, Simply Organic, I find more to try. This recipe is located in the "deep winter" section of the book, but I'm looking forward to trying it again when we can get local cauliflower from our CSA or the farmer's market. And, as a side note, we signed up for the CSA through Amazing Grace once again. So excited for spring to come!
Creamy Cauliflower and Pasta
from Simply Organic by Jesse Ziff Cool
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 lb whole wheat pasta, such as shells or rotelle
1/3 c olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 c dry white wine
15-oz can diced tomatoes, drained (optional, but recommended)
1 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano or 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 c kalamata olives, pitted and chopped (I omitted these--we're not olive fans.)
1 tsp red pepper flakes
4 sprigs fresh Italian parsley, stemmed and chopped
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
1/4 c shredded Parmesan or Asiago cheese
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat. Add the cauliflower and cook for 5 minutes, or until tender. Remove with a slotted spoon to a medium bowl, reserving the water. Cook the pasta according to the package directions in the reserved water. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl.
While the pasta is cooking, in a large skillet heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cauliflower and cook for 5 minutes, stirring and breaking the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces. Add the wine, oregano, tomatoes and olives (if using), and red-pepper flakes and cook for 3 minutes, or until the cauliflower is very tender. Add the parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the pasta and toss to coat well. Top with the cheese.