Thursday, February 6, 2014

Simple Supper: My variation on Mario Batali's Penne with Cauliflower

In his book, Molto Italiano, Mario Batali describes this dish as so simple it seems almost pathetic. "Seems" is the operative word, however, because the flavor of this dish is outstanding. I altered the technique a bit and added an ingredient (the bread crumbs) but I'm sure Mario's original recipe is amazing as is. It just seemed simpler and a tad more decadent the way I wanted to do it. Mmmmmm, pasta with toasted bread on top. Gimmeabreak!

My Take on Mario Batali's Penne with Cauliflower 
Yield: about 8 servings or so
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced finely
1 head cauliflower cut/broken up into small florets
generous sprinklings of salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 lb whole wheat penne (salt the boiling pasta water so it tastes like sea water)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
1 cup freshly toasted bread crumbs

Preheat your oven to 475.

Prep the cauliflower and garlic and toss them together with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on a large sheet pan and roast for about 20-25 minutes until slightly browned. 

Toast your bread crumbs for 8-12 minutes on a sheet pan in the same hot oven as the cauliflower.

Prep the parsley and Parmigiano-Reggiano and set aside.

When the cauliflower is just about done, bring a large pot of water to boil. Once the water starts boiling, salt it heavily so it's as salty as ocean water. Add the penne and cook until al dente. 

When the pasta is done. Drain it quickly tossing it back into the pot with a bit of it's water. Add in the cauliflower, additional olive oil, parsley, grated cheese and toasted bread crumbs and toss everything together. Taste for salt and pepper, adjusting is necessary, and serve immediately.