Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Edmonton had deep freeze weather last week, and I felt like eating something rich and comforting. I remembered a spaghetti recipe with sauce made from cauliflower and cream, and decided to do a less expensive version using chicken stock. An aged Piave was grated into the sauce, but you can use any deeply flavoured cheese that will go with the cauliflower - cheddar would be fine. Cauliflower also loves paprika; use a hot or bittersweet pimentón (Spanish smoked paprika) if you can find it.
Cut up a medium head of cauliflower and roast on a baking sheet drizzled with oil until browned and tender in a medium oven. Use every bit of the cauliflower - there is no reason to throw away the core or green leaves. Meanwhile, saute half an onion and a few cloves of garlic - more if you love garlic - in a large saucepan until tender. When cauliflower is ready, scoop it into a blender with the onion, garlic, and one and a half cups of chicken stock, blending to make a thick, very smooth sauce. Add water or more chicken stock if the sauce is too thick to pour. Return sauce to the large saucepan and heat through. Stir 3 tbs grated cheese into the sauce, heat, and taste for seasoning.
Bring a large quantity of water to boil, add salt, and add rigatoni. (I used whole wheat rigatoni, which took eight minutes to cook.) Drain pasta, saving some of the water, and mix with the sauce, thinning with reserved pasta water if needed. Let sit for a minute, then dish up and sprinkle with paprika. This much sauce will work for about a pound of rigatoni or similar pasta shape, which feeds four to six.