Cauliflower ahoy

It’s no news to The Interwebs that Deb at Smitten Kitchen is a failsafe resource when the “what to cook” question gets too pressing–she has a charming style and loads of recipes from all over, all nicely organized and accessible in a print friendly format. What service!

I have turned to her several times in the last couple weeks, beginning with a recipe she posted based on a recipe from Chez Panisse Vegetables. I will try anything with cauliflower; it’s definitely in my top 5 vegetables (a list I should make and cook from some time), and I happened to have walnuts in the freezer and ricotta salata in the fridge, so I took the posting as a sign of what to make that night. The recipe calls for two heads of cauliflower, which is a LOT, guys. A LOT. In the end it was definitely the correct proportion for one pound of pasta, but I ate leftovers for two lunches and a dinner, so next time I’ll be making a half batch. This would feed a crowd. I was out of red pepper flakes and the recipe could have used a little punch, but I’m such a sucker for cauliflower that I’m sure I’ll be making it again soon. I might try it with some *really* good white wheat pasta next time–this would be a good time to call in the $6/bag Rustichella D’Abruzzo stuff–though the whole wheat at least gave some tonal contrast with the cauliflower. I think it would actually be prettier as a shades of cream thing, though.

Click through to Deb’s posting for the full recipe.

This really is a fast recipe, with the most annoying/time consuming part being the hacking up of 800,000 cauliflower florets. I won’t lie, I’m a dab hand with a cauliflower, thanks to that obsession, but it didn’t give myself enough cutting board space and I felt like I was drowning in the stuff. Next time, half a bag of pasta and one head of cauliflower. But look how lovely those little inner leaves are, all glistening in the dew tap water:

And witness the madness:

If I hadn’t been so lazy and sick of cutting up cauliflower while holding it in my hand because I had no space to put it down (ahem) I would have made the florets a bit smaller or at least more evenly sized so they’d cook in about the same time. It was a beastly task trying to sauté all of that in my biggest pan; the florets didn’t get as caramelized as I would like because there was just too much in the pan. I would also add half again the walnuts; the flavor and texture contrast perfectly with the cauliflower but they were a little scarce on the ground. (Maybe I had freakishly large heads of cauliflower? But they seemed about normal to me.)

Horrible photo of the finished dish; once again I am fighting the cursed lighting in my kitchen:

Definitely worth making again! But maybe not for a little while. I ate a LOT of that pasta.

4 thoughts on “Cauliflower ahoy”

  1. All I see are florets. What do you do with the cauliflower stem? I’m kind of leary of whole wheat pasta; isn’t it mushy?

  2. Emily: Oh yum.

    Mom: I cut the core out before cutting it into florets. I didn’t really have much stem, not like with broccoli…

    The key with WW pasta is to make sure it’s really al dente. Also it’s worth buying the best you can find, not the Barilla kind. I think I got BioNaturae at Whole Foods… It’s worth trying but again, next time I think I’ll use really good white pasta.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *