October 12, 2007

Cigarettes, Chocolate Milk, and Cauliflower

Rufus Wainwright is very popular in our household. This is a live performance of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," one of Rufus' signature songs these days.

As for the post title, I had this nice-looking head of cauliflower from our CSA earlier this week and wanted to use it in a two-day meal—that is, enough for two dinners—which we try to make twice a week.

So I turned to Molto Mario’s The Babbo Cookbook – which, admittedly, can call for ingredients beyond the reach of the typical at-home cook (hen-of-the-wood mushrooms or wild boar, anyone?) – and came upon this simple recipe that seemed perfect, and, as a bonus, also would make for a mostly “sustainable” meal: a red onion and cauliflower from our CSA, garlic from Farmers @ Firehouse, mint from our own herb garden. Molto called for ziti, but we only had cavatappi, which worked very well.

Ziti with Tuscan-Style Cauliflower

  • 1/4 - 1/3 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
  • Small red onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup plus of roughly chopped mint
  • 1 tsp of crushed red pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or thinly sliced
  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into small pieces
  • 1 lb of ziti or similar pasta
  • Salt and pepper

Bring a well-salted pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta.

In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil (I would lean more toward the 1/3 cup) over high heat for a minute or two. Turn down the heat just a little, then add the onion, garlic, mint, and crushed pepper, and sauté for about a minute or two. Add the cauliflower and cook until the cauliflower is tender and beginning to brown in spots, about 10-12 minutes.

Drain the pasta well, and when the cauliflower mixture is ready, add the pasta to the pan, mix well, and cook together for a minute or so.

Serve with grated pecorino romano, if you have it. Otherwise, use parmesan. This is not a saucy dish, so if it seems a little dry, just give it a quick swirl of a high quality olive oil in the pan before serving.

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