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

Alu Gobi – Cauliflower and Potato Curry

Caulifower and Potato Curry

 

20 years ago, I tried this dish for the very first time.  My college roommate, Salina, is from Kenya, but her parents are from Gujarat.  Apart from being one of the most incredible, beautiful and kindest persons I have met to date, she also opened up my mind to so many different things.  With her, I traveled to Kenya, and had one of the most life changing trips.  I entered not only Africa, but was received with open arms by her family, and they made me their protegé, and taught me so many things about Indian culture.  Back then, Salina used to cook for me.  I didn’t even know how to boil water.  But wow….she used to make these things that I had NEVER heard of.  But I loved them all.  I loved her little tiffin box full of spices.  I secretly coveted it.  I secretly wished I could be as talented as her in the kitchen.

But she did leave me with quite a few recipes.  Honestly, I don’t think I could have ever made them until now.  Thanks to the beauty of internet and the fact that I can now manoeuvre around a kitchen, I can figure out what “kala jeera” is (black cumin seed) and to figure out what “when the oil separates” means.  I think her recipes are beautiful.  It wasn’t from a book, she was cooking from her heart, and from her amazing mother’s heart.  ( I heart Bena- her mummy, my other mummy.)

So, today I decided to tackle this recipe, which was one of my favorites.  And I received the best compliment of all.  A friend of mine who has traveled extensively throughout India took one bite and said, “Mmmm, this takes me back to India!  Do you mind if I eat with my hands?”

And this of course, made me very, very happy.  Because my other mummy taught me how to eat with my hands too.

So, here is Salina’s wonderful Alu Gobi!

Serves 4

1 small cauliflower, cut into small florets

1 large onion, chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped

2 potatoes, chopped

1 cup peas

For the masala:

1/3-1/2 cup ghee or oil

1 tsp kala jeera (cumin seeds)

2 tbsp finely chopped ginger

2 green ( I used red) chillies, roughly chopped

1/4 tsp turmeric

1 tsp salt, or to taste

2 tsp coriander powder

1/2 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp garam masala

2 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped

Wash the cauliflower, potatoes and peas together.

Heat the ghee/oil, and lightly fry the cumin seeds.  Add the onions and fry to a light golden color.  Add the tomatoes, ginger, chillies, turmeric powder, salt, coriander powder, chilli powder and garam masala to the onions.  Cook on low heat until the oil separates.  (About 10-15 minutes).  Add the cauliflower, peas and potato with about 1/4 cup water, and stir the vegetables until well mixed with the masala.  Cover the pan and simmer on low heat.  When cooked, if there is any liquid in the pan, increase the heat and evaporate until the sauce is thick.  Sprinkle with the chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with chapati, puri or paratha.  (I made spiced puris in the picture above).

From my Indian mummy’s kitchen to yours,

Carla

 

 

Roasted Summer Vegetable and White Bean Salad

After all these days eating out, my belly needed something healthy, satisfying and delicious.  Ta-da!  Here is the perfect salad to satiate your hunger and make you feel oh-so-good about eating.

It’s so easy to make, and quick too if you buy the beans already cooked.  I love the markets here in Barcelona, because there are these lovely ladies that all they do is cook legumes so you won’t have to.  I could kiss them.  And they are always perfectly done, never too mushy, always fork tender.

Adding a little lemon-dill vinaigrette for that summer zing, and you’re done.  It’s a one plate meal that your taste buds will love and your waistline will thank you for.

So here’s what you’re going to need:

Serves 4

6 or 7 medium broccoli florets

6 or 7 medium cauliflower florets

A handful and a half of cherry tomatoes

1 large yellow pepper (or orange, or red, whatever tickles your fancy) cut in half and ribs and seeds removed

1 red onion, thickly sliced

Olive oil, for drizzling over the veggies

Salt and Pepper to taste

250g of white beans

1 large bunch of dill, chopped

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Juice from one lemon

Sea salt

 

Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees.  Place all your veggies (minus the beans) onto an oven sheet, drizzle with a little olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.  Roast for 10-15 minutes, until they are nicely browned and fragrant.

Let cool a few minutes before chopping the peppers.

In the meantime, make your vinaigrette with the extra virgin olive oil, dill and lemon juice.  In a large bowl, toss the vegetables with the beans and dressing.  Sprinkle with sea salt.

And voilà!  You have your meal!

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla