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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Cauliflower Penne Puttanesca

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  Whenever I get a magazine that contains recipes, I do one of three things. If it's a really good issue with tons of recipes I'm interested in, the whole magazine stays. If nothing really catches my eye, the entire thing heads to the recycling bin. If I spy a few recipes that I know I want to make, I rip them out and stick them in a storage bin that we keep in our office closet. Between recipes that people pass along to me and recipes I pull from magazines, I recently noticed that the bin was overflowing. A scan of the dates on them told me I'd been stocking away recipes for two, sometimes three, years and didn't even recall what was in there anymore. Determined to shrink the pile before it grew even more, I decided to plan the entire week's menu out of recipes from this box. No current magazine, no Pinterest finds, and no scanning of other blogs. What we were going to eat was coming from that pile!
And that's how we found ourselves eating this pasta dish one Sunday evening. I've really been liking cauliflower lately and the fact that I had a halfway eaten box of penne on hand put this one on the top of our list. It was, as most recipes from the magazine are, real simple which I appreciated after a busy weekend when I'd already spent a good six or seven hours in the kitchen. The hardest part was pitting the olives and that was my own mistake. Note to self--read the signs at the olive bar better next time!

The simplicity of the dish allowed the flavors to shine. Like all Puttanesca dishes, this one was salty with just a touch of heat from the red pepper flakes. Worried that it wouldn't be saucy enough, I added extra tomatoes (original recipe listed below) and I was glad I did. If you prefer things extra sauced, follow my route!

One Year Ago: Autumn Chopped Salad
Two Years Ago: Oreo and White Chocolate Brownies
Three Years Ago: Marshmallow Muffins

Cauliflower Penne Puttanesca
from Real Simple February 2012

-3/4 lb penne
-3 tbsp olive oil
-1 small head cauliflower (about 1 1/2 lbs), cored and cut into small florets
-kosher salt & black pepper
-2 cloves garlic, chopped
-1 (28 oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes
-1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
-2 tbsp capers, rinsed
-1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
-2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
-grated Parmesan, for serving

1. Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain and return to the pot.
2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cauliflower, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Cook, tossing occasionally, until golden (4-6 minutes). Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant (about 1 minute). Add the tomatoes and their juices along with the olives, capers, and crushed red pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, breaking up the tomatoes with a spoon until the cauliflower is tender (8-10 minutes).
3. Toss the pasta with the sauce and serve topped with parsley and grated Parmesan.