Wednesday, March 2, 2011

March 2, 2011: Cauliflower with Linguine Recipe

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Don’t you get tired of serving the same old side dishes over and over again?

I know I do. While making a special dinner for my husband recently, I combed through my recipe binder (five inches thick with pages covered on both sides with recipes!) and found a dish I’d meant to make in 1996. It came from the Butterball website and was meant to be an accompaniment to the traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner. Consequently, it serves a lot of people – but it’s easy to cut down to size. I used about a third of all the ingredients listed and it made a dish that was perfect for two diners, along with a steak and a salad. And the best thing? This side dish not only tastes good, it looks very elegant.

Cauliflower with Linguine

1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
9 ounces fresh spinach linguine (I cheated and used dried pasta but the fresh variety would have been much better)
2 T. cooking oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 T. butter
3 T. flour
¼ t. white pepper (you can use black pepper, but the white looks nicer)
Dash nutmeg (I didn’t have any nutmeg –horrors! – so I used paprika, which worked very nicely)
2 c. light cream or half-and-half
¼ c. + 2 T. grated Parmesan cheese
¼ c. snipped fresh parsley
¼ c. cooked and crumbled bacon

Cook cauliflower in enough water to cover for 15 – 20 minutes or until just tender; drain (I used a steamer basket which allowed me to use the same pan to prepare the sauce, cutting down on the number of dishes to wash). Cook pasta according to directions, drain in a colander. Immediately toss with oil.

Meanwhile, in a 3-quart saucepan, cook the garlic in the butter for a couple minutes. Stir in the flour, salt, pepper, and nutmeg (or paprika). Add the cream all at once. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir one minute more. Stir in the cauliflower until well coated with sauce.

To assemble, toss together cooked pasta and ¼ cup of pasta (note: I had a hard time getting the cheese to stick to the noodles so I just scraped out what was left of it and sprinkled it on top of the prepared casserole). Slowly twirl a portion (or a piece if you are making a smaller quantity) of pasta onto a long-tined fork using hands as a guide to help form a nest. Push pasta off fork into a greased 2 ½ quart oval baking dish or shallow casserole. Repeat with remaining pasta, forming a circle of nests around outer rim of dish. Spoon cauliflower mixture into center of pasta ring. Sprinkle parsley, crumbled bacon, and remaining parmesan cheese on top of cauliflower mixture. Cover and bake in a 350 degree oven about 20 minutes or until heated through.

Makes 8 – 10 side dish servings.

Tip: Don’t have time to make pasta nests? Just layer the pasta into the bottom of your casserole dish and make a well in the center for the sauced cauliflower.

4 comments:

  1. Hey good dish, was unable to recognize cauliflower, you have chopped them in a different way.

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  2. Hi Foodie! I think it's the sauce and bacon bits on top of the cauliflower that make it look different. Hope you try the recipe; I think it's delish!

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  3. I would never have thought to combine these ingredients. But this looks like one heck of a delicious dinner!!!

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  4. Mama Kelly, it's definitely a different combination but a tasty one, I think. Hope you enjoy it!

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