Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Roasted Cauliflower Pasta

After my recent discovery of a deep love for roasted cauliflower, I couldn't not try this recipe from Cooking Light. What I like best about Cooking Light is that their light dishes are still full of flavor and real ingredients, not bland dishes made with artificial sweeteners and fats. For the most part, Cooking Light does a fantastic job of figuring out where dishes can be slimmed down and where fat and sugar are critical parts of the recipes. People are much too afraid of fat, instead of recognizing it as a critical part of our diet, necessary for energy and for ingestion of lipid-soluble vitamins, among many other biological functions. Stay away from trans fats, try and shift the balance towards unsaturated instead of saturated fats, and make sure you have plenty of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables and you'll be fine (provided you have no medical limitations).

The roasted cauliflower is has a deep, caramelized flavor, complemented by rich olives and cheese, and brightened with the fresh parsley and kick of spice from the crushed red peppers which goes perfectly on hearty and nutty whole wheat pasta. All of the elements of this dish fit perfectly together, although they may seem an unlikely combination. It's a healthy, satisfying, and affordable meal for vegetarians (and vegans, if you swap out the butter and cheese) and carnivores alike!

Roasted Cauliflower Pasta
adapted from Cooking Light
serves 4

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium shallots, peeled and cut into wedges
1 medium or 2 small heads cauliflower (about 1.5 lbs total), trimmed and cut into florets
1/3 cup sliced Kalamata olives
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
5 garlic cloves, crushed
8 ounces uncooked whole-wheat rigatoni (or penne)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup freshly shaved Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Place a small heavy roasting pan in oven. Preheat oven to 450°.

2. Remove preheated pan from oven. Add butter and oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add shallots and cauliflower to pan; toss to coat. Bake at 450° for 10 minutes. Add olives and next 3 ingredients (through garlic) to pan; toss to combine. Bake an additional 7 minutes or until cauliflower is tender and browned.

3. Cook pasta in boiling water 7 minutes or until almost tender. Drain pasta through a sieve over a bowl, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid. Return pasta to pan over medium-high heat. Add reserved cooking liquid and cauliflower mixture; toss. Cook 2 minutes or until pasta is al dente, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; sprinkle with parsley, garnish with shaved cheese, and season with pepper to taste.

1 comment:

  1. Love the addition of black olives in this. And you mention three other things I love included in a recipe of this sort; caramelized, cheese and a kick of spice. Sounds like I can't go wrong with this one!