pasta with cauliflower, almonds and breadcrumbs

  • Currently 4/5
easy weekday dinner. cauliflower has a lot of nutrients.

from someone's Aunt Lydia or perhaps just a take on Lidia Bastianich's recipe.

since i don't have fresh pasta, adjusted the recipe a little to allow for the longer pasta cooking time. also used regular pepper flakes for more heat.

this would be great with spaetzle

yields: 6 servings
6 oz 8-inch chunk day-old country bread
1 large head cauliflower (about 3 lbs), cut in small florets
1 lb dried pasta* or (1 1/2 lb, fresh)
1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil
7 plump garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste
2 tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/2 c cup sliced almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more for the pasta pot
special equipment
heavy-bottomed skillet or sauté pan, 12 inch diameter or larger
a large bowl for tossing and serving the pasta
1. grate the bread chunk on the coarse holes of a box grater into a mixing bowl; you should have about 4 cups of fluffy crumbs (or just whirl in your food processor).
2. fill the large pot with salted water (at least 6 quarts water with 1 tablespoon salt), and heat to a boil.
3. with the pasta water at a rolling boil, drop in pasta and the cauliflower florets, and cook them for about 6-7 minutes or until pasta is al dente (if you are using fresh pasta, add cauliflower first and cook for about 3 minutes before adding pasta, and cook for an additional 5 after adding pasta).
4. pour the olive oil into the skillet, set over medium-high heat, and scatter in the sliced garlic and pepper. let them sizzle for a minute or so.
5. dump in the bread crumbs, and stir to moisten them with the oil. toast the crumbs for about 5 minutes, tossing them and shaking the pan almost continuously, until they're golden and crisp; adjust the heat so neither the bread crumbs nor the garlic gets too dark. turn off the heat, and pour the toasted crumbs and garlic into the serving bowl.
6. lift out the florets and cavatelli with a spider or strainer, drain briefly, and spill the pasta and florets on top of the bread crumbs in the bowl. sprinkle over the bowl the almonds, parsley, and salt, and toss everything together well, until the crumbs and almonds are evenly distributed and coat the pasta and cauliflower florets. drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil all over, and toss again. add some cauliflower/pasta water if too dry. serve immediately, right from the bowl.
* gemelli, cavatelli, rotini, farfalle or even gnocchi would be good with this.
Meal   LunchCuisine   Italian
Dish   Main DishCooking Method   Simmer
Main Ingredient   PastaStyle   One Dish Meals
Prep Time   15 to 30 minutesCooking Time   less than 15 minutes
Features   Dairy-Free, Low-Fat, Low-Sodium, Vegan, Vegetarian

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