Year two of the blog will bring a new culinary challenge. I’m going back to the basics and am challenging myself to actually use the cookbooks I have. The internet makes it so easy to be inundated by recipes, that we often forget about the ones sitting right under our noses in our beloved cookbooks. My new challenge is to try at least one new recipe a month from each of my cookbooks. Feel free to join the challenge, either with the books I choose or using the cookbooks on your own shelves.
January 21, 2013
Pasta with Cauliflower Pesto - Cook the Books
Taken From The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
Another interesting recipe from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. I love using my food processor so any excuse and I'm there. This recipe was all about using the food processor, and it worked really well. There are just some things that you can't make without the help of this amazing appliance. Love it. I wasn't able to find this recipe on Smitten Kitchen's site, so I'll provide it below. Ingredients 1 cauliflower head
3 tablespoons fresh parsley (I used ~6 fresh basil leaves) 2 pinches of red pepper flakes
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2-1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
1 lb. linguine (I used whole wheat pasta)
Cook your pasta as directed. Drain and reserve 1 cup of the
pasta cooking water to mix into the pesto later.
While your water is boiling/pasta is cooking, cut the
cauliflower into chunks and place them in the food processor. This is easiest to do in 2 batches in order
to make the processing more efficient (otherwise you will get chunks of
cauliflower that keep missing the blades).
Process to form couscous-like crumbs and transfer to a mixing bowl.
Toast the almonds in a small, dry skillet over medium-low
heat until fragrant and lightly browned, shaking them as needed to avoid
scorching. Cool, then place in the food processor along with the sun-dried
tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, garlic, capers and parsley (or basil) and red pepper flakes. Pulse to form a coarse
bread-crumb consistency, then add the mixture to the cauliflower in the bowl.
Stir in the oil, 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon of
salt until it's evenly distributed, in order to form a pesto like mixture. The
yield is about 3 3/4 cups.
Add the pasta and toss to coat evenly, then add as much of
the reserved pasta cooking water as needed to create the desired consistency (I added about 1/2 cup). Taste, and adjust the seasoning, adding the remaining 1/2
teaspoon of vinegar as needed.
Like I mentioned, the food processor is key in this dish. If
you don't have one, I'm sure you could borrow one or just do everything is tiny
batches with the Magic Bullet. No, not
really. Please don't attempt that.
I started out by processing the cauliflower until it looked like couscous.
Separately, I processed the almonds, sun-dried tomatoes,
Parmesan cheese, garlic, capers, basil and red pepper flakes
until it resembled bread crumbs.
I mixed the two together, then stirred in the olive oil and vinegar. Deb suggests doing this by hand as adding the oil while the food processor is running turns it into a paste.
I mixed the pesto in with the pasta, added 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water and topped it off with more shaved Parm.
I really liked this. It's a little odd and I'm not a huge fan of pasta based meals but this was delicious with an interesting texture. It was a really nice alternative to a heavy cream sauce or an acidic tomato sauce. The pepper flakes gave it a nice kick and the nuts added a little crunch. A pound of pasta makes a ton so this would be great for an easy, healthy group dinner.