Roasted cauliflower plus pasta = kid-pleaser

Roasted Cauliflower Capellini
(SHNS photo by Gretchen McKay / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
Story by Gretchen McKay
(Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
Thu, Oct 4, 2012
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Surprisingly enough, my daughters are crazy about cauliflower — but only when it’s roasted.

So this easy recipe from Sara Forte’s luscious new cookbook, “The Sprouted Kitchen: A Tastier Take on Whole Foods” by Sara Forte (Ten Speed, $25), was an easy sell.

Cooking the veggie in high, dry heat brings out its sweet, nutty flavor, and in pairing it with buttery pasta, Forte has created a dish we’ll want to toss together time after time.

This works well as a side dish or as the centerpiece of a meatless dinner. You can omit the hazelnuts if your kids aren’t fans.

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER CAPELLINI

  • 1 head cauliflower (about 3 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons lemon pepper
  • Sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 pound whole-grain or brown rice capellini or spaghetti
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • Handful of fresh basil leaves, cut into thin slivers
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Shaved pecorino, for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat for the capellini.

Meanwhile, cut the cauliflower into 1-inch florets, discarding the thick middle stem. Spread the florets on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with the olive oil, coating each piece. Sprinkle with lemon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and nutmeg; toss again. Roast, stirring halfway through cooking time, until there are lots of browned caramel-iced spots, 25 to 30 minutes.

Cook the capellini according to instructions. Meanwhile, in a large saute pan over medium heat, warm the butter and swirl it around the pan until it starts to bubble and just begins to smell toasty, about 2 minutes. Turn off heat. Drain pasta, reserving a little of the water. To the pan with the browned butter, add the capellini, a splash of the reserved water, the balsamic vinegar, basil, half of the cauliflower and half of the hazelnuts, and a pinch or two of salt. Toss to combine. Divide capellini among four bowls and top each serving with a portion of the remaining cauliflower and hazelnuts. Add a few grinds of pepper. Garnish with shaved pecorino and serve immediately.

Serves 4.

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