Friday, January 14, 2011

Penne with Caramelized Cauliflower

The other night, I was on my way home after a long day of running errands, and just generally being out. It wasn’t raining, but there was a tangible mist leaving its impression, and making me wish for nothing more than to make a good dinner, and curl up at home. But, I was having one of those days where I couldn’t quite identify just what I was hungry for. I made a quick detour to a nearby bookstore, and after a brief glance through the Vegan/Vegetarian section, I settled upon Vegetarian Times’s new publication, Everything Vegan. As soon as I saw the “Pasta & Noodles” heading, I knew what I wanted for dinner. For the last few weeks, I have been madly craving broccoli and cauliflower, roasted, caramelized, sautéed, tempuraed, whatever. Unlike cravings for carrot cake and potato chips, I pay a bit more attention when I have a yen for things that are good for me. So pasta + cauliflower = just what I wanted.

1 head cauliflower cut into florets
1 yellow onion sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup parsley
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1 pound whole wheat penne

Heat oven to 475º. Line an oven proof dish with foil. Place the cauliflower and onion in the dish, drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until the cauliflower is tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

Combine the parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, and remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a food processor. Blend until it forms a coarse paste.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the penne according to the package directions. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water. Combine the pasta, cauliflower and onion, the parsley mixture, the crushed red pepper, and 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Toss to combine, adding more water if necessary. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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