July 14, 2010

Pasta with Cauliflower

Broccoli and Cauliflower are pretty much staples in the Arquiette refrigerator, much to Jackie's disdain. We usually always either sauté or grill the veggies as a side dish, which really is amazing as both techniques allow the fresh flavor to be amplified and sharpened, leaving me a happy eater. But for once I wanted the cauliflower to be the star, the main attraction of dinner so I thought about a cauliflower sauce. I'd seen it on TV a few times and thought- why not?

Pasta with Cauliflower

5-6 inch segment of a baguette*
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tbs. tomato paste
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 cauliflower head, stem removed and diced
4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
6 anchovies, roughly chopped
1 lb. cooked penne, rigatoni, or another tubular pasta + reserved pasta water
1/4 cup chopped parsley
freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a food processor, pulse the baguette until rough crumbs form. Transfer the crumbs to a skillet over medium heat with about 1 tbs. of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Toast until the crumbs are light, golden brown. Remove from the pan and set aside for assembly later.

Pour the remaining olive oil in the skillet and sauté the cauliflower for 5-7 minutes or until it starts to get soft. While the cauliflower cooks, combine the tomato paste and the juice from the diced tomatoes (reserving the tomatoes for later) and whisk until combined. This will act as the base for the sauce.

After the cauliflower has cooked and started to get soft, stir in the tomato paste mixture, crushed red pepper flakes and the chopped garlic. Cover, and let cook on low heat for 10-12 minutes or until the cauliflower is very tender and somewhat breaking down. Add the anchovies and about 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water and allow to cook for another 5 minutes to thicken the sauce.

Stir in the pasta, mixing well so every noodle is engulfed in sauce and cauliflower. After dishing out on individual plates, sprinkle first with the freshly toasted bread crumbs and then with parsley. And, of course, some grated Parmesan cheese! Bon appetit :)

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