Rigatoni with Cauliflower

Rigatoni with Cauliflower

It is amazing how many variations of sauces there are for pasta.  Although there are some that can be found throughout Italy, such as carbonara, ragu bolognese, al pommodoro, there are some that are truly autochthonous to a certain region.  For example, the only place that I have seen pasta to be eaten with lentils, is Naples.  This one, rigatoni with cauliflower, is from Sicily.

My household wasn’t very excited at the prospect of having cauliflower with their pasta, probably because my fiancé Paolo is from the north, and you just Don’t. Put. Cauliflower. On. Pasta. Period.

But, I need them to eat their veg, and I figured under the tomatoes and anchovies and breadcrumbs, it would be well masked.  This dish is great for anyone that want to get their vitamins and some omega 3’s in a plate of pasta.  Seriously, isn’t that the best way?  (Unless you are allergic to gluten, that is!)

This is another recipe from the book that I mentioned in my last postThe Country Cooking of Italy, by Colman Andrews.  I have to admit, I was unsure of how it was going to taste, since I never actually ate this anywhere in Sicily, but to all of our surprise, it was really delicious!  If you aren’t fond of anchovies, you can omit or lessen the amount.  I personally love them, but I know they aren’t everyone’s favorite!

So here’s what you’re going to need:

Serves 4-6

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 cup toasted breadcrumbs

1 small head of cauliflower, separated into florets and finely chopped

6-8 anchovy fillets, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 tsp peperoncini

salt and pepper to taste

5 whole canned san marzano tomatoes, coarsely chopped

1 lb rigatoni

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.  Add the breadcrumbs, stir well, and cook, stirring frequently, until they are well toasted, about 15 minutes.  Set them aside.

Add the remaining oil to the same frying pan over medium heat.  Add the cauliflower and cook, stirring frequently for about 10 minutes.  Stir in the anchovies, garlic, and peperoncini and season with salt and pepper.  Stir in 1/2 cup water, cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook for about 20 minutes more.

Add the tomatoes to the cauliflower mixture, stir well, and continue to cook, uncovered, until the tomato liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.  Add the pasta and cook until al dente, 8-12 minutes.  Drain the pasta well and return it to the pot.  Stir in the cauliflower mixture and transfer to a warmed serving bowl.  Pass the breadcrumbs at the table.

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

Creamy Scrambled Eggs and Truffle oil with “Migas de Chorizo” (Chorizo Breadcrumbs)

I apologize for not posting anything yesterday, but I had a huge team building event that I was catering.  It was a huge success, but working all day yesterday took its toll on everything else in my life.

I wanted to share one of our most popular tapas, “Huevos revuelto con Aceite de Trufa y Migas de Chorizo”.  This is such a playful dish, and a huge crowd pleaser.  It’s incredibly fun to eat, right out of the shell, and with a few tips you can easily re-create this at home and serve it just as we did, on the egg crate.

Eggs are divine, and they are so easy to pair with other ingredients.  We wanted to play with the whole “Eggs and Bacon” Bit, but make it more accessible to our Spanish clients by adding Chorizo instead of bacon, which is undoubtedly a very Anglo-Saxon food.

To keep the eggs creamy, and to be able to prepare them before hand and then re-heat them and still be creamy, we made a light béchamel sauce, mixed with the scrambled egg and spooned them back into their shells.  Then with a light drizzle of olive oil, and the addition of the chorizo breadcrumbs, you just plonk it in a 375 F oven for three to four minutes, and serve immediately.

Serving them on the egg crate is not only fun, but super useful.  It allows you to make up to 30 at a time, and then place the whole thing in the oven and take it out again easily.

Migas is a typical dish of central Spain, which was originally made by sheep herders.  It was a way to re-use stale bread, and make it into a filling meal.  We added the chorizo sausage, because of its high content of paprika, it gives the bread crumbs this beautiful red hue that you can see here.

The addition of truffle oil elevates it from a very humble dish to a more sophisticated tapa.

So here’s what you’re going to need:

Serves 30 as an appetizer

30 farm fresh eggs

4 tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

4 cups cold milk

6 tbsp butter

6 tbsp flour

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

2 stale baguettes

2 pieces of cured chorizo sausage

White or Black truffle oil, for drizzling

If you don’t have an egg cutter, then lay the egg sideways on top of a tea towel, and with a serrated knife slice the wider end of the egg in a quick sawing motion until half way through or less, and then with your fingers take the top off carefully.  Place the egg in a bowl, and your shell back on its crate.  Once you’ve opened all the shells, wash the inside of the egg shells in warm water, and place upside down on the crate to dry.

Meanwhile, in a large heavy bottomed sauce pan, melt your 6 tbsp of butter.  Add the flour, and cook over very low heat, stirring constantly, for 5-6 minutes.  Add the cold milk, whisking vigorously so no lumps form.  Continue to cook, for about 10-15 minutes, until the sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon.  You don’t want it too thick though.  So a key to make sure it isn’t that thick, is when you coat the back of the spoon, blow on it, and if it makes a slight flower pattern and then returns back to normal, you’re done.  Too thick would be that it stays as a flower pattern.  Take off heat and add the nutmeg, salt and pepper.

In a large non-stick skillet, heat your olive oil.  Whisk the eggs, and cook until done but still juicy.  Add the béchamel, a large spoonful at a time, whisking, until soft and creamy, but still tastes very eggy.  Make sure you don’t add too much, just enough so that it stays creamy when it cools, but not so much that you lose the egg flavor.  I can’t give you exact details, because each egg is different size, and it really has to do with more of the texture you want.  Cover and set aside.

To make the migas, slice the baguette into rounds, and with a food processor, pulse to make bread crumbs.  Set aside.
Then slice the chorizo, and in a food processor, pulse until it is finely chopped.  In a large skillet or sauté pan, place the breadcrumbs and chorizo, and over medium heat, cook until all the bread is coated with chorizo and slightly fried.

To assemble, spoon the scrambled eggs back into their shells until 3/4 full, drizzle with a little of the olive oil, and top with a spoonful of the chorizo breadcrumbs.  Place them back on the crate, and place in a 375 F oven.  Re-heat for 3 to 4 minutes.

Let cool slightly (the shell will be quite hot) and serve on the crate!

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla