This might be the best pasta recipe I have ever made. It’s based on one from Melissa Clark. I made a few changes which I note below.
Melissa writes: “Studded with salty olives, pancetta and Parmesan that gets golden and crisp at the edges, this is roasted cauliflower at its brightest and most full-flavored. You can serve the caramelized florets either as a vegetable-based main dish or a hearty side to roasted meats or fish, or big bowls of pasta. The recipe calls for using a package of finely diced pancetta that practically melts into the sauce. But if you prefer a chunkier texture, you can dice it yourself into 1/2-inch cubes, and add them with the cauliflower. Or, to make this vegetarian, just leave the pancetta out.”
- 1 large head cauliflower (about 1 3/4 pounds), trimmed and cut into bite-size florets (about 8 cups)
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
- ⅓ cup olives, crushed, pitted and chopped (I used Castelvetrano olives.)
- 1 fat garlic clove, finely grated or minced
- 1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
- ⅛ teaspoon red-pepper flakes, plus more as needed
- 4 ounces pancetta or bacon, cut into 1/8-inch cubes
- ¾ teaspoon cumin or caraway seeds (I used cumin seeds.)
- ½ cup shredded (not ground) Parmesan
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley or mint leaves and tender stems, for serving (I didn’t have so I used fresh chives.)
- Heat oven to 425 degrees. Place cauliflower on a rimmed baking sheet (I used a cast iron pan) and toss with 1/4 cup olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt until well coated. Roast for 15 minutes.
- In a small bowl, whisk together olives, garlic, lemon juice, 1/8 teaspoon red-pepper flakes and a large pinch of salt. Drizzle in the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, whisking well.
- After the cauliflower has roasted for 15 minutes, add pancetta and cumin seeds to pan and gently mix to combine. Sprinkle Parmesan on top and roast for another 15 to 20 minutes, until cauliflower is tender, the pancetta rendered, and cheese is golden brown and crunchy. (I added #4 to the cast iron pan for a few minutes.)
- Spoon olive dressing all over roasted cauliflower while still hot and toss to combine. Taste, and add more salt, red-pepper flakes or lemon juice, if needed. Scatter parsley over the top before serving. (I used fresh chivies.)
Susan said, “Bruce, do we still have some cauliflower from our Christmas Eve Party? If so, listen to this recipe from Melissa Clark. She writes;”
“The beauty of a soup like this — other than its bone-warming properties — is that you don’t need a recipe. You can pretty much simmer together any combination of vegetables with a little water or broth, purée it, top it with good olive oil and salt, and end up with something good to eat. The addition of miso paste and crushed coriander to the broth, and fresh lemon and cilantro at the end, zips things up without negating the comfort factor.”
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more for serving
- 1 large white onion, peeled and diced (2 cups)
- 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 5 medium carrots (1 pound), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2 cups)
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed
- 3 tablespoons white miso
- 1 small (or half of a large) head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice, more to taste
- Smoky chile powder, for serving (I added this right before using my immersion blender.)
- Coarse sea salt, for serving
- Cilantro leaves, for serving
- Toasted Pumpkin Seeds (my addition)
- In a large, dry pot over medium heat, toast coriander seeds until fragrant and dark golden-brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a mortar and pestle and coarsely crush.
- Return the pot to medium heat. Add the oil and heat until warm. Stir in onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly colored, 7 to 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook 1 minute.
- Add carrots, crushed coriander, salt and 6 cups water to the pot. Stir in the miso until it dissolves. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook, uncovered, 5 minutes. Stir in cauliflower and cook, covered, over medium-low heat until the vegetables are very tender, about 10 minutes.
- Remove the soup from the heat. Using an immersion blender, purée the soup until smooth. (Alternatively, you can let soup cool slightly then purée it in batches in a food processor or blender.) If necessary, return the puréed soup to the heat to warm through. Stir in the lemon zest and juice just before serving. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with chile, sea salt and cilantro leaves.
So DELICIOUS! I served it with homemade French Bread.
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