Even when I’m not compulsively checking my favorite political websites, the upcoming election dominates my thoughts. Since I can’t seem to write coherently about food, I’m officially giving up until after November 4.
Though writing is beyond me, I’m still cooking dinner every night. One of my favorite recent meals was Pasta with Spicy Cauliflower Sauce, a dish I created to honor the gorgeous, creamy-white cauliflower that arrived in last week’s CSA box.
Pasta with Spicy Cauliflower Sauce is delicious and gives cauliflower the attention its wonderful flavor deserves. (One day, when I’m fully recovered from PESD, I’ll explain why steaming or boiling cauliflower is almost always a mistake.)
And for my American readers, please vote!
Pasta with Spicy Cauliflower Sauce
The anchovies in the breadcrumbs are optional, but their salty flavor nicely complements cauliflower. The amount of rosemary needed will depend on how strongly flavored your rosemary tastes.
2 cups diced yellow onions, 1/2” dice
1/4 cup olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
2 – 3 tsp. minced rosemary
1 tsp. Aleppo pepper or 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
3 cloves fresh garlic
1/4 tsp. Aleppo pepper or 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
6 anchovy fillets (optional)
1 cup fresh bread crumbs or Panko
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves fresh garlic
1/4 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 pound gemelli, fusilli, or other dried pasta
1/4 cup dried currants
1/2 cup chicken stock, plus more as needed
1/2 cup grated fontina cheese
1/2 cup finely grated fresh parmesan cheese
Make the Cauliflower Sauce: Wash the cauliflower, cut out the stem and discard it, and break the cauliflower into florets. Roughly chop the florets.
Sauté the onions, lightly seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper, in olive oil until the onions soften and start to turn golden. Stir in the chopped cauliflower, rosemary, and Aleppo pepper, and cook over medium heat for 15 - 20 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender and starts to caramelize.
Make the Spiced Breadcrumbs: While the cauliflower is cooking, puree together the garlic, Aleppo pepper, and anchovies (if using). Toss the puree with the breadcrumbs until they are thoroughly combined. Season with freshly ground black pepper and salt (if using anchovies, which are salty, it may not be necessary to add salt). Sauté the seasoned bread crumbs over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the crumbs are crispy. Pour the crumbs onto a plate to cool.
Make the Pasta: Puree the garlic and salt together; this is easiest to do with a mortar and pestle. Whisk the olive oil into the garlic and salt. Boil the pasta in boiling salted water until it is al dente; be careful not to overcook. Drain the pasta and immediately mix in the garlic oil.
Finish the Dish: Stir the pasta and garlic oil into the cooked cauliflower. Stir in the currants, and 1/2 cup chicken stock. Let cook over medium heat for 1 minute or until the pasta is heated through. If the pasta is too dry, add a little more chicken stock. Stir in the fontina and half the parmesan cheese.
Divide the Pasta with Spicy Cauliflower Sauce between four plates or pasta bowls, sprinkle with spiced breadcrumbs and the remaining parmesan cheese, and serve immediately.
This is my entry for the third anniversary edition of Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted this week by its creator Kalyn of Kalyn’s Kitchen.