Cauliflower is one of those veggies that I enjoy, but I can’t seem to find any good recipes for it. That changed when I bought a copy of Salt to Taste by Marco Canora. I know, I know, I never buy cookbooks, but this one really spoke to me. This casserole was right up my alley.
So how good was it? It was so good, I totally forgot to take a photo. So as you can see now, these shots were taken after I’d already eaten about half of it, the next day. Oops.
Rigatoni with Cauliflower, Pecorino, Hot Pepper, and Bread Crumbs
From Salt to Taste by Marco Canora
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup minced onion
1/4 cup minced carrot
1/4 cup minced celery
3 minced garlic cloves
1 large head of cauliflower, broken up into small florets
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Large pinch of minced peperoncini or red pepper flakes
28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, can juices discarded
1 pound rigatoni
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup grated pecorino
1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
First you cook the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic in the oil over medium-high heat, stirring, for 10 minutes. Then mix in the cauliflower and season with salt, pepper and peperoncini (I used red pepper flakes) and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes to soften. Break up the tomatoes into the pot, mix well, and simmer until the cauliflower is tender and breaking apart, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Then cook the pasta in a pot of salted water until almost al dente, drain, and toss it into the cauliflower mixture so it can finish cooking, but reserve some of the pasta cooking water because you might need to add 1/2 cup to the sauce to loosen it up. Add the parsley and half the pecorino and stir.
Preheat the broiler. Combine the bread crumbs, melted butter, and remaining pecorino in a small bowl. Transfer the pasta mixture to a baking dish and top with the bread crumb mixture. Put under the broiler for 3 minutes to brown it up and then let it rest for 5 minutes before serving.