Winter is the season of comfort foods. In Malta, New York it’s cold and cloudy with a constant threat of snow, perfect weather for food that will ‘stick to your ribs.’ However, what a lot of families, and eaters, seem to overlook is the abundance of seasonal vegetables that are available in late winter. Winter vegetables, like kale, cauliflower, or cabbage, usually are high in starch, dense, and have a bitter taste. They tend to be the perfect additive to your dinner after a hard day of shopping in Saratoga Spring or hiking around the many parks around in the area.
Here is a great recipe that combines cauliflower and pasta into a simple, but elegant, winter dish.
Pasta With Cauliflower
Yield 3 or 4 servings Time about 40 minutes
1 head cauliflower, about 1 pound
Salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound penne, fusilli or other cut pasta
1 cup coarse bread crumbs.
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Trim the cauliflower, and divide it into florets. Add about a tablespoon of salt to the water, and boil the cauliflower in it until it is tender but not mushy. Using a slotted spoon or strainer, remove the cauliflower and set it aside. When it is cool enough to handle, chop it roughly into small pieces.
2. Meanwhile, in a large deep skillet over medium-low heat, saute garlic in olive oil, stirring occasionally, until garlic is golden. Start cooking pasta in same pot and same water as was used for the cauliflower.
3. When the garlic is ready, add the cauliflower to skillet, and turn heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally. When pasta is just about done — it should be two or three minutes short of the way you like it — drain it, reserving about a cup of cooking liquid. 4. Add pasta to skillet containing the cauliflower, and toss with a large spoon until they are well combined. Add salt and pepper to taste, along with just enough pasta water to keep the mixture moist but not soupy. When the mixture is hot and the pasta is tender and nicely glazed, mix in the breadcrumbs.