Making pasta is a bit of an ordeal of my house, since I have to make regular whole wheat pasta as well as gluten free pasta. It’s made even more difficult because I have a 20-year-old Jenn Air range with only two working electric burners and two grill-like burners that take forever to heat up. This means I have to make the pasta first, then put it aside while I make the sauce. Then I have to reheat the pasta before serving. Needless to say, I can’t wait until we have enough money saved to do our kitchen remodel.
Even so, this month’s Secret Recipe Club assignment was enticing enough to deal with the inconvenience. I chose Melissa from Smell’s Like Brownies’ recipe for Spaghetti with Spicy Cauliflower Sauce for several reasons. First, it’s a terrific Meatless Monday dish, even if my husband thought I should have added some sausage to it. (Not a bad idea, frankly.) And second, because my daughter, Lucie, loves cauliflower.
Changes to the recipe and cooking tips
Changes: I didn’t change up too much in this dish, except for the way I cooked it. For example, I minded and left it in the pan instead of crushing the cloves and removing them later. I also partially cooked the cauliflower then added the onion and cooking both together instead of cooking them separately.
How to cut cauliflower: I don’t like tossing the cauliflower stems and just using the florets as it seems such a waste. Instead, I slice the cauliflower head into 1 inch slices, then break them apart with my hands into bite sized pieces. Yes, there’s a mixture of pretty and not-so-pretty pieces of cauliflower, but it all tastes good to me!
About the type of cheese: Any freshly grated Romano style cheese is perfect with this dish. I used a Romano-Pecorino cheese from Trader Joe’s that’s very tasty, so feel free to experiment!remember to liberally salt your pasta. In my opinion, this pretty much eliminates the need for adding more salt to the sauce later on.
The convenience of Gourmet Garden herbs: Instead of fresh parsley, I used Gourmet Garden parsley instead. I’ve been having a lot of fun experimenting with Gourmet Garden’s products, and love the convenience of squeezing out just enough for a recipe without having to buy a whole bunch of herbs. There’s nothing worse than throwing rotten parsley into the compost bin because you didn’t have another use for it before it went bad. If you wish, use the same amount of fresh parsley instead.
Serving the sauce: Since I made two kinds of pasta, I served the sauce on top of it instead of dumping all the pasta into the sauce pot. This also is a better way to do things if you plan to have leftovers as the sauce will soften the pasta, so by the time you reheat it, it’s sort of mushy.
Salt your water: Finally, don’t forget to liberally salt your pasta cooking water. In my opinion, this practically eliminates the need to add extra salt to your pasta sauce.
Spaghetti with Spicy Cauliflower Sauce
Adapted from Smells Like Brownies adaption of the recipe from The Complete Book of Pasta and Noodles
Serves 4 to 6
- 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
- 1 medium head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into bite sized pieces
- 3 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 2 tablespoon fresh flat-leaf parsley, minced
- 1 pound whole wheat or gluten free spaghetti
- 1/2 to 1 cup freshly grated Romano-Pecorino cheese
- Heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium heat in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet.
- Add the cauliflower and minced garlic. Sauté, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes.
- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and the sliced onion to the pan and cook until golden brown – about 10 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and red pepper to the onion and cook until slightly thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Then stir in the parsley and 1/4 cup of the grated cheese.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and return to the pot.
- Place one serving of pasta in a bowl or plate and liberally top with sauce. Serve immediately with extra cheese and crushed red pepper.
More from the Secret Recipe Club!
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Gourmet Garden provided me with samples of their products to try out in my cooking. All opinions and experiences are my own.