Roasted Cauliflower Pasta
Last night I hosted my book club. Like most book clubs it’s partly about reading and sharing books, but just as importantly it’s an excuse to hang out with a bunch of intelligent, witty and hilarious women once a month. We always have interesting and insightful conversations about the book we’ve read, which is one thing I love about this book club, and at some point we always veer off onto other topics, which is the other thing I love. Last night I learned a little something new about coal mining, circumcision and fertility clinics in Prague. Plus, I had a glass of champagne and ate much good food.
Having people over was an excuse to buy some fresh flowers (supplemented with lavender greens and lemon verbena from my yard), wash my rarely used champagne glasses and break in my new Le Creuset pot.
I served Roasted Cauliflower Pasta, a winter pasta that’s hearty but not in a heavy meat sauce sort of way. Sorin and I have been trying to eat more vegetables this year and less meat. We’re not giving it up entirely – a girl like myself needs a burger every now and then – but coming up with new and interesting vegetarian meals has been fun. And also challenging. Dinner is just so easy when the formula is meat+starch/grain+veggies. I like having three distinctly different parts of the meal. With vegetarian meals I find we’re often just eating one dish with a lot stuff in it. Like this pasta, or quinoa with tomato sauce and veggies, or soup, or a big salad.
But I like the challenge of cooking in a new way and I like making new discoveries such as baby turnips at the farmers market. Sliced thinly and sauteed briefly with their greens and sprinkled with nori salt they’re my favorite veggie of the moment.
But back to book clubs and cauliflower. Next month we’re reading Cleopatra. If you never read historical non-fiction about kick-ass women I highly recommend starting.
Speaking of kick-ass women in the making, after numerous adventurous climbs out of her crib (and one tumble to the floor) little O is now sleeping in a toddler bed. Surprisingly, she has not once gotten out of her new bed on her own. Poor little bird doesn’t seem to know that the cage door is now open and she can fly out whenever she wants. She has, however, rolled out of bed twice onto the floor, where I find her curled up and sleeping like, well, a baby. I know she’s a toddler now, but she doesn’t know it yet and that’s fine with me. I’m dreading the inevitable day that I call her “my sweet baby” like I always do and she corrects me by telling me she’s a big girl. I understand now why parents view their children as their babies, even when their babies are twenty, thirty or even forty-something years old.
Before I get weepy, here it is: cauliflower pasta.
Roasted Cauliflower Pasta
Total Time in the Kitchen: 1 hour
This isn’t a hard and fast recipe, I just sort of threw the dish together and you can too. I made a big batch to serve about eight people, but you can just cut the amount of cauliflower and pasta in half if needed.
One package (16 ounces) dried linquine
2 heads of cauliflower
olive oil for drizzling over cauliflower and making breadcrumbs
finely chopped parsley, to taste (I used half a bunch)
1 to 2 cups breadcrumbs (see below)
a few tablespoons of butter
a few squeezes of fresh lemon juice
grated parmesan, to taste
salt and pepper as needed
While the cauliflower is roasting, chop your parsley and make your breadcrumbs. If you have some stale white bread on hand, cut it into small chunks then pulse it in a food processor until it’s finely chopped. Or, you can also use panko. Warm a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs or panko, stirring occasionally until they’re nicely browned and a bit crispy. Add a little salt for flavor. Be careful, because breadcrumbs can move quickly from lightly browned to burnt.
Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain.
Put the cooked pasta in a large serving dish. Heat the butter over medium until it turns brown and smells nutty. Pour over the noodles and toss well. Mix in the cauliflower, parsley and breadcrumbs. Add a few squeezes of fresh lemon juice and as much cheese as you like. Salt and pepper to taste.
I finished cooking my cauliflower pasta about an hour before it was served and it kept fine in my Le Creuset pot inside a 300 F oven.