Monday, April 27
Just coming in to flower if you got started early and beginning to make a show at the markets, is cauliflower. A winter vegetable of the brassica family which has a reputation as a one hit wonder of 'Cauliflower cheese' fame. Cauliflower plays a poor second to its green cousins in this household but this one was just so firm and heavy, tightly budded and pure white that i couldnt resist. But it sat on the counter top until a yellowing leaf really prompted me to use it before all those features that got it entry into the house, disappeared. Refusing to do cauliflower cheese, which everyone does love, and trying to do something a little less button busting, i decided on... pasta. This dish uses a whole cauliflower a provides a good serve of vegetable per person.
Pasta 'chi Vrocculi Arriiati' (Sicilian Cauliflower Sauce)
2 tsb olive oil
1 tsp saffron
3 anchovy fillets
50g pine nuts/blanched almonds
50g grated pecorino romano or parmesan cheese
4 basil leaves
Cook whole cauliflower in salted boiling water. While still firm, remove from water and reserve water.
In a pan heat half the oil and add finely chopped onion.When it begins to turn coour dd saffron which has been softened i little warm water. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
Divide cauliflower into small florets and add to onion mixture with anchovie fillets, nuts and raisins/sultanas and cook until fillets have dissolved. cover remove from heat and leave. Cook pasta in reserved cauliflower water. When al dente, drain and add to cauliflower mixture with cheese and chopped basil. Serve.
This 'sauce' was surprisingly tasty and we had it served on organic Australian multicoloured penne. The sauce was sweet, full of complexity and just about perfect. It got the big thumbs up from everyone, especially the kids. I dropped the anchovy fillets back to jst 1 as b2 will eat 1 fillet as it adds saltiness without the fishyness. I have tried 3 or so in other dishes before and been rightly busted and she had plain pasta that night. We had no sultana/raisin so i 'foraged' a big handful out of our muesli bin and brushed off the oat dust! I also would use almonds next time as they grow locally but i found some pine nuts in the fridge so i used them up and we generally only buy local cheese so we had some chunky grated SA pecorino on top. Local salt instead of anchovy would suffice if you want to up your loca content (unless you can find local anchovies and let me know!) and retain its vegan status, without the cheese of course. This will definitely be on our menu again.