SICILIAN STYLE ROASTED CAULIFLOWER WITH PASTA
Meat Lover's Meatless Cookbook
by Kim O'Donnel
For years, I stayed away from cauliflower, as I had experienced it exclusively raw, which is funky, gritty, and hard to swallow. But I no longer despair because now I know what happens when those chalky-white florets spend some time in a hot oven. They transform into cream—well, not quite—but heady, almost sweet morsels that have changed my cauliflower tune forever. Wait till you get a load of this cauli combo—wine-soaked raisins, garlic, and pine nuts—tossed with short pasta.
Makes 4 servings
• 1 cup dark raisins
• 1 cup white wine you enjoy drinking
• 1 head white, green, or purple cauliflower (about 1 pound), cleaned, trimmed, and cut loosely into florets
• 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil (use more if necessary)
• 1½ teaspoons salt
• Ground black pepper
• 1/4 cup pine nuts or chopped walnuts
• 4 cloves garlic, smashed
• 1/4 to 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
• 8 to 12 ounces short pasta, such as penne, farfalle, or gemelli
• 1/4 to 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (optional but nice)
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
In a small bowl, soak the raisins in the wine until they plump up, about 15 minutes.
Place the cauliflower in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish or something of similar size. Pour the olive oil on top of the florets, and with your hands, toss until the florets are generously slathered with oil. Season with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and pepper to taste.
Add the raisins and wine, nuts, and garlic, and with your hands, mix to combine. Sprinkle bread crumbs generously on top.
Bake uncovered until fork tender, 40 to 45 minutes. After 20 minutes, check the liquid level; if the wine is completely evaporated, add a few tablespoons of water to keep the raisins from burning.
Meanwhile, bring at least 6 cups of water to a boil and add the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain and pour into a serving bowl. Pour the cau- liflower and trimmings over the pasta and stir to combine.
Add Parmigiano-Reggiano, if using, and garnish with parsley.