4.Tequila is the new Vodka. And 80 is the new 60…just kidding.
5. Cauliflower is the new Kale. Andrew greeted this last one with great joy having somehow missed last year’s boat when Kale was the new bacon. According to Pinterest, Cauliflower isn’t just a side dish anymore. It’s now a center of the plate item. There’s even a recipe for pizza crust that uses cauliflower and wouldn’t you know it’s gluten-free!
Andrew’s sister Lauren, always a source of great food sharing ideas, first discovered and then cooked this Fine Cooking Recipe in their current issue. It’s from their “Make It Tonight” series which is a consistent source of great weeknight menu ideas. Here florets of cauliflower are roasted in a hot oven while you make buttered breadcrumbs on the stove top. The aromatics are next. Garlic and lots of it is combined with minced anchovies. I know I’ve had this discussion before but please don’t equate this use of anchovies to those sad dried out little filets topping a bad Caesar salad. Here they add a deep, savory flavor. The reconstituted currants give the dish a little sweetness. Pecorino Romano and pine nuts join the breadcrumbs to top the finished pasta dish. Since Pine Nuts are practically a day’s pay, you can substitute toasted walnuts pieces without taking away anything from the dish. Let’s not leave out the parsley because this is another monochromatic dish that needs the color. The only liberty I took with the Fine Cooking Recipe was cutting back on the amount of pasta. I’ve made the dish twice. The first time, I went with their recommended quantity and it seemed to overwhelm the ‘sauce’. The second time I used 1 cup of dried pasta per serving and the taste of the cauliflower came shining through. Here is the recipe:
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 500°F. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. In a small bowl, cover the currants with hot tap water and set aside.
2. Toss the cauliflower florets with 3 tbsp. of the oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Place the cauliflower on a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet, and spread it in a single layer. Roast, tossing halfway through cooking, until just tender and lightly browned, 13 to 15 minutes.
3. Melt the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the panko and cook, stirring, until deeply golden, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and transfer to a small dish; wipe the skillet clean.
4. Heat the remaining 2 Tbs. oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until golden, about 1 minute. Stir in the anchovies and pepper flakes, then add the cauliflower and toss well. Keep warm.
Boil the pasta for 1 minute less than package directions for al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water, drain the pasta, and return it to the pot. Drain the currants, and add to the pasta with the cauliflower mixture, cheese, and the reserved water. Stir to combine; cover and cook over low heat to let the flavors meld, 1 to 2 minutes.
5. Season to taste with salt and pepper and top with the panko, parsley, and pine nuts.