This healthy, hearty, and tasty vegetarian dish is from one of Bon Appétit’s “healthy-ish” issues. It initially had a mixed reception from the meat lovers in my house because the sauce closely resembled meat sauce in appearance and texture- but not in taste, of course. They gobbled it up in the end. 😉
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Andy Baraghani. I increased the amount of garlic, used freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, and reserved pasta water to adjust the consistency of the sauce (and to reheat leftovers). I served it with roasted asparagus. Yum.
- 12 oz mushrooms, such as shiitake or crimini, stems removed
- 1 medium head of cauliflower (about 2¼ lbs), broken into florets
- 6 T extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 4 T unsalted butter, divided
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 6 to 10 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 chile, such as serrano, Holland, or Fresno, thinly sliced, or ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 T finely chopped rosemary
- ⅓ cup double-concentrated tomato paste
- Kosher salt
- 1 lb rigatoni
- 2 oz finely grated Parmesan (about 1 cup), plus more for serving (I used Parmigiano-Reggiano)
- 3 T finely chopped parsley
- freshly grated zest of 1/2 to 1 lemon
- Pulse mushrooms in a food processor until finely chopped. Transfer to a small bowl. Wipe out food processor bowl.
- Working in 3 batches, pulse cauliflower in food processor until pieces are about the size of a grain of rice (some smaller and some larger ones are fine), transferring to a medium bowl as you go.
- Heat ¼ cup oil and 2 T butter in a large heavy pot over medium-high.
- Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 4–6 minutes.
- Add onion and 2 T oil to pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is very soft and golden brown, 6–8 minutes.
- Add garlic, chile, and rosemary and cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is softened and mixture is very fragrant, about 3 minutes.
- Add tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until paste is slightly darkened, about 2 minutes.
- Add cauliflower and cook, yes, still stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is cooked down slightly and begins to stick to bottom of pot, 6–8 minutes.
- Season with salt, then keep warm over low heat.
- Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until almost al dente, about 1 minute less than package directions. Reserve 2 cups of pasta water.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer pasta to pot with sauce.
- Add Parmesan, remaining 2 T butter, and 1 1/2 cups pasta cooking liquid. Increase heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until pasta is al dente and sauce is clinging to pasta, about 3 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in parsley.
- Taste and adjust seasoning with salt (it’ll probably need another pinch or two).
- Finely zest lemon over pasta and toss once more.
- Divide pasta among bowls. Top with more Parmesan, then drizzle with oil.
Posted in Pasta, Recipes, Vegetarian
Tags: bolognese, cauliflower, chiles, crimini, dinner, Fresno, Italian, lemon zest, mushrooms, parmesan, Parmigiano Reggiano, pasta, rigatoni, sauce, serrano, shiitake, vegetarian
I have made this wonderfully cheesy dish a couple of times already- just to get the proportions right. I knew that I had to increase the amount of simple and flavorful sauce after making it the first time.
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I lightened the dish by baking the cauliflower after coating it instead of frying it. We ate it over linguini fini with sautéed broccoli rabe on the side. Wonderful!
- 6 T extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon red Chile flakes, optional
- 3 (28-ounce) cans whole or diced plum tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
- 3 sprigs basil or 1 bay leaf
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- scant 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Parmesan rind, optional
- In a large, straight-sided skillet over medium heat, warm the oil. (I used an enameled cast iron pot with a glass lid.)
- Add garlic and cook until just lightly golden.
- Add chile flakes if desired and cook 30 seconds.
- Stir in tomatoes and juices, basil or bay leaf, and salt and pepper.
- Bring sauce to a simmer, add the Parmesan rind, if using, and cook until sauce is thick and tomatoes have mostly fallen apart, about 30 to 40 minutes. Adjust heat as needed to keep at a steady simmer. If using whole plum tomatoes, mash them up with the back of a wooden spoon or a potato masher to help them break down.
- Remove sauce from heat and discard basil or bay leaf.
For the Cauliflower & To Finish the Dish:
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 3 cups panko or plain unseasoned bread crumbs
- Kosher salt, as needed
- freshly ground black pepper, as needed
- 1 large or 2 small/medium heads cauliflower, trimmed and cut into 2-inch florets (I used 1 small and 1 medium)
- olive oil, for drizzling
- Simple Tomato Sauce (recipe above)
- 1 cup finely grated Parmesan, preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 3/4 pound fresh mozzarella, torn into bite-size pieces
- linguine fini or other pasta, optional, for serving
- Heat the oven to 425 degrees, preferably on convection roast.
- Place flour, eggs, and panko into three wide, shallow bowls. (I used glass pie dishes.) Season each generously with salt and pepper.
- Dip a cauliflower piece first in flour, then eggs, then coat with panko. Repeat with remaining cauliflower.
- Place on 2 parchment paper-lined, rimmed baking sheets. Roast coated florets for 22-24 minutes, or until nicely browned.
- Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees, preferably on convection.
- Spoon a thin layer of sauce over the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.
- Sprinkle one-third of the Parmesan over sauce.
- Scatter half cauliflower mixture over the Parmesan and top with half the mozzarella pieces.
- Top with half the remaining sauce, sprinkle with another third of the Parmesan and repeat layering, ending with a final layer of sauce and Parmesan.
- Transfer pan to oven and bake until cheese is golden and casserole is bubbling, about 30 to 40 minutes. While the dish is baking, prepare the pasta, if desired.
- Let cool a few minutes before serving. Serve over prepared pasta, as desired.
Posted in Casserole, Pasta, Recipes, Vegetarian
Tags: baked, casserole, cauliflower, comfort food, dinner, fresh mozzarella, healthy, Italian, light, mozzarella, panko, parmesan, Parmigiano Reggiano, San Marzano, San Marzano tomatoes, sauce, tomato sauce, tomatoes, vegetarian
Yes- more soup! It may be sunny outside but it is still freezing. The positive spin I’ve taken on this gloomy situation is that I can still make delicious soup for dinner. 🙂
This recipe is from one of my favorite magazine columns, the RSVP section of Bon Appétit. It was adapted from chef Mark Filatow of Waterfront Wines in Kelowna, British Columbia. It was fabulous!
½ cup raw hazelnuts
- 2 T baking soda
1 medium head of cauliflower (about 2 pounds), cut into small florets
2 T extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling, optional
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
4 slices thick-cut bacon (about 4 ounces)
1 small fennel bulb, chopped
1 small onion or ½ of a large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
⅓ cup dry white wine or water
6 cups chicken stock
¾ cup heavy cream
2 bay leaves
- Blanch and Peel the Hazelnuts: Boil 1 ½ cups water in a small saucepan. Add 2 T baking soda and the nuts. Boil for 3 minutes, or until the skin is easily removed. Drain, rinse with cold water, and peel the skin off of the nuts.
- Preheat oven to 350°, preferably on convection roast.
- Toast the blanched hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing occasionally, until golden brown, 10–12 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop.
- While the nuts are cooling, increase oven to 400°, preferably on convection roast.
- Toss cauliflower and 2 T oil on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Roast, tossing once, until florets are browned all over and tender, 30–35 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cut bacon crosswise into ½” pieces.
- Heat a heavy pot over medium and cook bacon, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp, 10–12 minutes. Transfer to paper towels.
- Cook fennel, onion, and garlic (I chopped them using a food processor) in drippings in pot, stirring occasionally, until onion and fennel are very soft, 5–10 minutes.
- Add wine and cook until mostly evaporated, about 5 minutes.
- Add roasted cauliflower, broth, cream, and bay leaves; season with salt and pepper.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until cauliflower is very tender, 20–25 minutes.
- Pluck out bay leaves; discard. Let mixture cool slightly.
- Working in batches, purée cauliflower mixture until very smooth. (I puréed the soup using an immersion blender in the pot.)
- Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Just before serving, ladle soup into bowls; top with bacon and nuts and drizzle with oil, if desired. (I omitted the additional oil.)
Do Ahead: Soup can be made 3 days ahead. Let cool; cover and chill soup and bacon separately.
One Year Ago: Breakfast Sausage, Egg, & Cheese Muffins
Two Years Ago: Cheesy Pasta Casserole with Wild Mushrooms
Three Years Ago: Gemelli with Mushrooms & Ricotta
Four Years Ago: Saffron Pappardelle with Moroccan Spiced Shallot-Butter Sauce
Five Years Ago: Minestrone and Macaroni Baked in Yogurt (Arshda Madznov)
Posted in Recipes, Soups, Stews, & Chowders
Tags: bacon, bay leaves, blanched hazelnuts, cauliflower, chowder, dinner, fennel, hazelnuts, heavy cream, pureed, roasted, soup, toppings, vegetables, wine
I have a couple family friendly comfort food pasta casseroles to share. In my house, this type of dish always seems to be the perfect meal in cold weather.
We recently enjoyed this one on a snowy evening- eating by candlelight. I thanked my lucky stars that it had finished baking before our power went out… hence the candlelight! 😉
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Chris Morocco. I used diced tomatoes and substituted fontina for provolone. I suppose half and half could be substituted for some (or all) of the heavy cream, but I went for the full indulgence on this (dark and cold) occasion.
1 pound pasta, such as medium shell or tube pasta (I used Capunti pasta)
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
8 ounces low-moisture whole-milk mozzarella, coarsely grated
4 ounces fontina, coarsely grated
2 ounces extra sharp cheddar, coarsely grated
2 ounces Parmesan, finely grated
1½ cups heavy cream
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ head of cauliflower, coarsely chopped
room-temperature butter or nonstick cooking oil spray (for pan)
- fresh herbs such as thyme, basil, or parsley, for garnish, optional
Preheat oven to 350°, preferably on convection.
Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until about halfway cooked (it needs to be very firm at this stage so that it doesn’t overcook when baked). Drain, reserving ½ cup pasta cooking liquid, and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Drain well.
Combine mozzarella, fontina, cheddar, Parmesan, cream, diced tomatoes, and reserved ½ cup pasta cooking liquid in a large bowl; mix to combine. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Add cauliflower and cooked pasta and toss to coat.
Grease a 3-qt. or 13x9x2″ baking dish with butter or cooking oil spray.
Scrape in pasta mixture and spread out into an even layer.
Cover dish tightly with foil and bake pasta until hot throughout and steaming when foil is lifted, 20–25 minutes.
Remove foil and increase oven temperature to 425◦, preferably on convection.
Continue to bake pasta until sauce is bubbling and top is browned and crunchy in spots, 20–30 minutes.
Let cool slightly before serving. Garnish with fresh herbs, as desired.
Posted in Casserole, Pasta, Recipes, Vegetarian
Tags: basil, Capunti, casserole, cauliflower, cheddar, fontina, Italian, kid friendly, kid-friendly dinner, macaroni and cheese, mozzarella, parmesan, Parmigiano Reggiani, parsley, pasta, sharp cheddar cheese, thyme, tomatoes, vegetarian
I have to share this dish because it was a reminder of an important lesson: Not every dish will be a complete success. It’s the risk taken when trying new recipes- even if they are from a trusted resource.
I am also sharing this dish because I think it can be rescued! I have updated the recipe below. The fresh pasta was lovely, with wonderful color and texture, so that portion of the dish has remained untouched. The mustard-shallot butter was overwhelmingly potent in the finished dish, so the proportions have been modified; I reduced the mustard and shallots by at least one-half.
This dish was so pretty and loaded with wonderful flavors! I was really disappointed that it wasn’t as delicious as it sounded or looked. Especially because it was particularly time-consuming to prepare. 😦 This recipe was adapted from The Greens Cookbook: Extraordinary Vegetarian Cuisine from the Celebrated Restaurant by Deborah Madison with Edward Espé Brown.
Yield: Serves 2 to 4
For the Fresh Herb Pasta:
- 1 cup loosely packed herb leaves (I used a mixture of basil and parsley)
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- large pinch coarse salt
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tsp olive oil
- water, as needed
To Complete the Dish:
- 1 recipe Fresh Herb Pasta, about 7 oz (recipe above)
- 7 T unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
- 1 T strong Dijon mustard
- 1 large shallot, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar, or more, to taste
- large handful of arugula, roughly chopped
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 2 sun-dried tomatoes, cut into small pieces
- 4 cups cauliflower, broccoli, and/or romanesco cauliflower florets, cut into small pieces
- thin strip lemon peel, very finely slivered
- coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- freshly grated Parmesan, for garnish
To Make the Fresh Herb Pasta:
- Wash the herbs and dry them as thoroughly as possible.
- Chop them very finely, I used a mini-food processor, and measure out no more than 3 T.
- Combine the herbs with the flour and salt.
- Add the egg and the oil, and combine until distributed throughout.
- Press together to form a dough. If it is too dry, add drops of water, a few at a time, to moisten it and help it come together. (I used 2-3 tsp of additional water.)
- Turn the dough out onto a counter- I put it onto a piece of plastic wrap. Form into a ball.
- Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, until it feels smooth and supple. (I added a little bit more water while kneading as well.)
- Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and set it aside to rest for at least 30 minutes, preferably for one hour.
- Roll the dough through the pasta machine, starting at the widest setting, and reducing until desired thickness is achieved. ‘(I rolled mine out to level 6.)
- Cut the strips into desired noodle length, typically 12-inches. Then cut the dough into 1/2-inch wide noodles. (I actually chose to cut mine crosswise into shorter 1/2-inch wide noodles.)
- Dust with semolina flour or flour, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside.
To Finish the Dish:
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Cream 4 T of the butter with the mustard, shallot, garlic, vinegar, and arugula. (This can be done ahead of time, covered, and set aside until needed.)
- Melt the remaining 3 T butter in a small frying pan, add the bread crumbs, and fry them until they are crisp and browned.
- When you are ready to cook the pasta, salt the boiling water.
- Melt the mustard butter over a low flame and cook to soften the shallots. Add 1/2 cup pasta water and the sun-dried tomatoes.
- Steam the cauliflower and/or broccoli in the microwave for 3 to 4 minutes, until tender. Alternatively, the cauliflower and/or broccoli can be dropped into the boiling pasta water, returned to a boil, and cooked for about 1 minute, until tender.
- Add the cooked cauliflower and/or broccoli to the butter.
- Next, cook the pasta for about 2 to 3 minutes, until al dente. Add it to the butter.
- Add the sliced lemon zest to the butter.
- Toss well with tongs, season with salt and pepper.
- Serve garnished with the bread crumbs and freshly grated Parmesan.
One Year Ago: Garlicky Spaghetti with Mixed Greens
Two Years Ago: Tropical Carrot, Turmeric, & Ginger Smoothie
Three Years Ago: Spinach-Potato Soup
Four Years Ago: Creamy Mushroom Pappardelle
Five Years Ago:
Posted in Pasta, Recipes, Vegetarian
Tags: balsamic vinegar, basil, broccoli, cauliflower, Dijon, egg pasta, fresh pasta, herb pasta, mustard, parsley, pasta, Romanesco cauliflower, shallots, sun-dried tomatoes, vegetarian
This dish was the perfect way to celebrate my beautiful CSA cauliflower. Although the base of this tagine was a bit spicy, the cauliflower and cheesy breadcrumb topping offset the spiciness and created a perfect balance. Because I didn’t have the Tunisian spice blend, Tabil, on hand, I was able to create the spice blend myself. The spiciness in the final dish could be easily modified by adjusting the amount of red pepper flakes in the spice blend.
The tagine recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by
For the Tabil Spice Blend:
Yield: about 3 tablespoons
- 1 1/2 T coriander seeds
- 2 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 T caraway seeds
- 1 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- Finely grind all ingredients in a spice mill.
Note: The remaining spice blend can be reserved in an airtight container at room temperature.
For the Tagine:
Yield: Serves 6
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Posted in Casserole, Recipes, Vegetarian
Tags: bell peppers, caraway, caraway seeds, casserole, cauliflower, cheese, coriander, cumin seeds, dinner, gruyere, moroccan, North African, spice, sun-dried tomatoes, sweet paprika, Tabil, tagine, Tunisian, vegetarian
Adding vegetables to a baked pasta dish is a wonderful way to slim it down and make it a little bit healthier. My son enjoyed this version as much as our standard super cheesy baked ziti. Not only does this version incorporate cauliflower, it is also upgraded by adding flavor from saffron and anchovies.
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Martha Rose Shulman. The dish was inspired by another Sicilian cauliflower dish in Clifford A. Wright’s “Cucinia Paradiso.” I modified the recipe by roasting the cauliflower, increasing the garlic and tomatoes, using whole wheat pasta, and incorporating mozzarella cheese. Great.
Yield: Serves 6
- 1 medium cauliflower, about 2 pounds, leaves and stem trimmed, cut into florets
- coarse salt, to taste
- pinch of saffron threads
- 2-4 T extra virgin olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 anchovy fillets, rinsed and chopped
- 1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes, with juice
- freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 2 T chopped flat leaf parsley
- ¾ pound ziti or penne rigate (I used whole wheat penne)
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces) pecorino or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
- 1/2 pound part-skim mozzarella cheese, grated
- Preheat an oven to 425 degrees, preferably on convection roast.
- On a parchment paper lined, rimmed baking sheet, toss the cauliflower florets with 1-2 tablespoons of the olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until tender.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees, on convection.
- Place the saffron in a small bowl and add 3 tablespoons warm water. Let steep for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Combine the grated cheeses in a bowl.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy skillet and add the garlic. Cook, stirring, until it smells fragrant, about 30 seconds to a minute, and add the anchovies and tomatoes. Season to taste with salt (remembering that the anchovies will contribute a lot of salt) and freshly ground pepper.
- Turn the heat down to medium-low and cook, stirring often, until the tomatoes have cooked down and smell fragrant, about 10 minutes.
- Stir in the roasted cauliflower, saffron with its soaking water, and parsley, cover and simmer for another 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt generously. Add the pasta. Cook until just al dente, a few minutes less than you would cook it to serve. It will soften further when it bakes. (I cooked the whole wheat penne noodles for 5 minutes, 2 minutes shy of al dente.) Drain and transfer to a bowl.
- Oil a 3-quart baking dish. Toss the pasta with half the cauliflower mixture and half the cheese and spoon into the baking dish.
- Combine the remaining cauliflower mixture with half of the remaining cheese and spoon over the pasta.
- Sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the top. Drizzle on the remaining tablespoon of oil.
- Place in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until bubbling. Garnish with parsley, if desired. Serve hot.
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Posted in Casserole, Pasta, Recipes
Tags: anchovies, baked ziti, casserole, cauliflower, cheese, dinner, healthy, Italian, kid-friendly dinner, parmesan, pasta, pecorino romano, penne, saffron, Sicilian, tomatoes, ziti