Saturday, January 25, 2014

Cauliflower and Sausage Pasta

I subscribe to a weekly email from Splendid Table (cooking radio program on NPR) and each week they send a recipe. The recipes always look interesting and some times I take the time to try one out. A week ago they featured a recipe from the book, Sauces & Shapes: Pasta the Italian Way, and I made a few modifications and have pronounced this a winner!

  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 large cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • pkg. baby kale 
  • About 8 ounces bulk sausage meat, I used hot because we like spicy food
  • 1/2 cup dry, full-bodied red wine
To make the dish:
  • 1 pound pasta-preferably orecchiette
  • 7 rounded tablespoons (70 grams) grated pecorino napoletano cheese or pecorino romano
Bring 5 quarts of water to a boil in an 8-quart pot over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons kosher salt, then add the cauliflower and boil until just tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Reserve the cooking water in the pot for boiling the pasta later.

In a large, deep skillet that will hold all the pasta later, sauté the sausage meat. Add the garlic and
raise the heat and add the wine. Let it bubble until the smell of alcohol has disappeared, about 2 minutes. Stir often to keep the meat from sticking. Add the cauliflower and pkg. of kale and mix well. Add the red pepper flakes.

Bring the vegetable water back to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, reheat the vegetable and sausage over low heat. After the pasta is half done, add a little of its cooking water to the sauce and let it absorb.

When the pasta is al dente, transfer it, dripping wet, into the skillet with the meat and cauliflower. Mix well over low heat for just half a minute.

Mix in the cheese and serve immediately, either straight from the skillet or in a warmed serving bowl.