Rigatoni with Cauliflower Sauce and Paprika

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.

17 comments:

H.Wren said...

That sounds really good -- I'll have to try it sometime soon. I've never thought of cauliflower as a sauce base before.

Anonymous said...

Made this for dinner tonight. It was a big hit. Thanks for the recipe. -M

Anonymous said...

This is a great idea!

Pepper said...

Hi wren, lots of veggies can become good sauces. Though some of my experiments haven't worked as well (sigh).

Thanks for the feedback, anonymous!

Hey Brilynn, great picture on your blog today.

Anonymous said...

speaking of ur pics... just curious, what are u using (camera, settings, etc.) Very professional looking.

Pepper said...

Hi, the camera is a Sony DSC W5 and I never use flash. The pictures are kind of a fluke; Edmonton is at a high latitude so during winter the sunlight always comes at a very low angle and the light is perfect for pictures. (Check out the light angle at my Cha Zuke post; I swear that was taken shortly before noon.)

My camera skills are pretty limited; I don't blog things I cook in the evenings because I can't take decent pictures of the food. Might learn one of these days.

kazari_lu said...

Wow,
this looks great. I'll definitely make this one.

Pepper said...

Kazari, thanks for visiting. Found lots of great frugal blogs, including yours, through your profile.

Mimi said...

You do a great job with photos, Pepper! When I started blogging last summer, I hauled everything out to the deck to take photos, so I understand the limitations you face. But, really, you are very professional!

I liked the grocery list in the previous post. I am envious.

LeisureGuy said...

One minor modification I'll make (and today I bought rigatoni and cauliflower to give it a go) is to use some cayenne pepper in addition to the paprika---not a lot, but enough for body. I do love that you use ALL the cauliflower.

peabody said...

Cauliflower sauce sounds interesting. I will have to give it a try.

Jennifer said...

This was excellent. Made it on sunday night and was really impressed at how well the cauliflower roasted. I heated up the chicken stock with a piece of parmesan cheese rind before I added it to the food processor (did put the rind in the food processor) and added it back for the re-heating of the sauce. Really turned out well.

Pepper said...

Thanks, Mimi...

Leisure Guy, cayenne would work, but I would leave off the paprika in that case. Some heat agent definitely is needed...If I was using cheddar, I would add mustard. Ginger is also fantastic with cauliflower, though I would leave out the cheese in that case.

Jennifer, thanks for the feedback.

Abby said...

Mmmm. I've never tried cauliflower as a sauce base, but was pleased with the outcome. I used white cheddar and added frozen peas to the pan before putting the sauce back in--next time, will definitely add mustard. Great recipes!

Sally Parrott Ashbrook said...

I just realized I forgot to include the paprika at the end! That's rather funny. It was still good, though. I put a little extra cheese and toasted some pine nuts to go in it, too.

jen said...

This was WONDERFUL! I also used cayenne pepper and it added a nice flavor. The peas sound great in it too.

Oh, I also used rotini instead of rigatoni and found that it holds the sauce a lot better.

Mustard is a great idea, too.

Thanks for the recipe!

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