And now it’s 2018. Let’s see how this year goes, shall we? Perhaps unicorns and rainbows will shower down upon us all? That is all I have to say on the matter. Anyway, in matters of grave importance, I now have an obsession with pasta and cauliflower in a dish together. That doesn’t sound very appetizing, does it? But actually, it’s a magical alchemy of roasted textures, umami savouriness and delicious crunchiness. I have sometimes eaten it thrice in the same week, it is THAT good. Not to mention cheap, while giving an air of sophistication, because from the humblest of veggies something is transformed into carb and flavour heaven. I love to buy cauliflower – but BRITISH PLEASE. How furious I get when I read of UK farmers forced to ditch cauliflower crops they can’t sell because our supermarkets buy cheaper imports from abroad. Shameful. Support your UK cauli growers with this delicious dish! Roasting the cauliflower is essential to this recipe – steaming or boiling it just won’t give you the same intensity of nutty flavour.
It’s also not exactly my recipe. It is my husband’s. I said: ‘please can you make me pasta with roasted cauliflower, make sure it’s crunchy and has Parmesan in it?’ And this is what he made. Also, you’ll barely be wasting any of the cauliflower as you’ll use the head, stalks and leaves.
Serves 2 hungry people
You will need:
Linguine pasta (there is something really comforting about the wideness of the noodles, but equally spaghetti is fine)
1 medium head of cauliflower with its leaves
1 lemon, zest removed (you’ll use this bit)
A slice or two of crusty (sourdough if possible) bread, chopped up into small pieces, or whizzed in a food processor to make rough breadcrumbs
Olive oil, you’ll need some for drizzling plus 3 tablespoons
Large handful chopped parsley
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, a good handful or two
Whack your oven on at 200C. Chop the cauliflower up into smallish pieces, e.g. the size of your thumb. Reserve the chopped bits of leaves/stalks and put to one side. Put the cauliflower in a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a little sea salt. Roast the cauli pieces for about 20 minutes, then add the leaves/stalks to the tray, plus the breadcrumbs, and continue to roast for another 10 minutes until all the edges of the veg are slightly browned and crispy. Don’t burn the breadcrumbs – you could always put them in a separate baking dish if you’re worried, but it’s so easy to put everything in the same tray. Remove from the oven and allow to cool down a little.
Get your pasta on the go. While it’s cooking, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil gently in a small pan, then melt in the 2 anchovies over a medium heat. When they have melted add the lemon zest and warm through. Turn off the heat.
Drain your pasta, then pour over the lemon/anchovy oil, toss, then throw in the Parmesan, mix, then add your roasted cauliflower pieces and chopped parsley. Add more Parmesan to taste and squeeze over a bit of lemon juice.
IT’S SO BLOODY GOOD!
A few weeks ago, back in The Year That Was 2017, I made this dish for my friend P in his amazing kitchen which is full to the rafters of eclectic bric-a-brac, curious objects, bits of film props and puppets…food and utensils lurk in there somewhere too:
Such an antidote to all those identikit bland modern kitchens don’t you think? You might not agree, but then I’m a maximalist, not a minimalist!