I LOVE cauliflower. It might be my favorite vegetable. I've never eaten a cauliflower dish I didn't like. I like it raw, cooked, whatever. So how happy was I when I found a recipe that marries my favorite vegetable with my #1 favorite food, pasta? Crazy happy.
This recipe from Chez Panisse Vegetables also makes me happy because it actually calls for whole wheat pasta, so I'm not subbing it in as I normally do. It's true, it's a real recipe for a truly healthy dish. And it's delicious. Recipe after the jump:
WHOLE WHEAT PASTA WITH CAULIFLOWER, WALNUTS, AND RICOTTA SALATA
1 head cauliflower, broken into small florets
1 medium onion, sliced into thin half moons
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 pound whole-wheat pasta
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 pinch red pepper flakes
White wine vinegar
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
4 ounces ricotta salata or feta cheese
Bring a large pot of generously salted water to boil. Start the sauce when the pasta goes into the water. Saute the cauliflower in olive oil in a large saute pan. When the cauliflower begins to soften, season with salt and pepper and add the sliced onion and red pepper flakes. Saute over medium to high heat until the vegetables are brown and tender. The cauliflower should still be slightly crunchy and should not taste steamed. Add the garlic and remove from the heat, tossing and stirring so the garlic doesn’t burn. Add a generous splash of vinegar and the lemon juice. Cauliflower requires a fair amount of seasoning, so don't be shy with the acids. Add the toasted walnuts and toss to combine. When the pasta is done, drain and add to the cauliflower, adding additional extra virgin olive oil to coat the pasta thoroughly, toss together and serve, topped with the crumbled cheese.