Pasta with Caramelized Red Onions & Cauliflower Served with Homemade Caesar Salad
I don’t know about you but Uncle Sam is no benevolent Uncle to me. I haven’t seen a paycheck for so long that I couldn’t imagine that we would not be getting a refund, but alas our accountant did not share good news with us. So an austerity plan is in place for the Brit and I. After considering, and then reconsidering, the temptation of two for one tickets to see a play I had been dying to see at The Curious Theatre Friday night, we decided that staying at home could be every bit as nice as going out on the town.
After spending the week reading about April Bloomfield and perusing her recipes for the blogging group I belong to, I was ready to try one of her dinner recipes. It is kind of ironic that her restaurants are considered carnivore’s delights, and she has stated that she is a snout to tail kind of gal, yet both of her recipes that I chose to make were meatless.
Sadly for him, the Brit did not get to savor April’s incredible pancakes made of almond meal, polenta, ricotta, sour cream, lemon rind, fluffy egg whites and blueberries. Yes Denise and I devoured every last bite of the recipe that claimed to feed four. While April’s new cookbook is called A Girl and Her Pig Denise and I became girls as pigs!!
So Friday evening I prepared a fabulous supper for my main squeeze, reaffirming that one does not have to lay down a $100 bill to enjoy a delightful candlelit dinner for two.
While I usually just “wing it” when preparing meals, I used both April’s recipe for Cauliflower and Anchovy Orecchiette (although I did not use Orecchiette, as I had a lovely Organic Casarecce in the pantry) and since I was left with some anchovies to spare, I used Tyler Florence’s recipe to make a Caesar Dressing.
Were I to make these two recipes again, I would increase the anchovies in the pasta dish, as I could not taste them at all. I would add more garlic than I did to the dressing and cut back on some of the lemon juice and not add the water, as I found the dressing not thick enough to my liking. I also cooked the cauliflower in big chunks and then cut them up after cooking. This to me seemed easier than trying to scoop out a whole bunch of smaller pieces.
|Caesar Salad w April Bloomfield’s Cauliflower & Anchovy Pasta|
- For the Salad:
- 1 head Romaine Lettuce
- 1 Chunk of Two Day Old Bread, cut into cubes
- 1/4 cup Shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano, use a good quality cheese
- EVO to saute the croutons
- Fresh Ground Black Pepper
- For the Dressing:
- 1 clove garlic, smashed with a pinch of salt and a little olive oil
- 4 anchovy fillets
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 lemons, juiced
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 cup good quality extra-virgin olive oil
- For The Pasta Dish:
- 1 large head cauliflower, florets roughly chopped into bite-size pieces (yielding about 8 cups)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 1 large red onion, thinly sliced (yielding about 3 cups)
- 3 large garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- 5 anchovy fillets, roughly chopped
- 2½ tablespoons rosemary, finely chopped
- 1 pound dry orecchiette or other pasta
- Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- Chop the romaine into bite size pieces, discarding both ends
- Brown the bread cubes in olive oil over medium heat, tossing to cook on all sides
- Smash a large clove of garlic and rub it all over the inside of a wooden salad bowl.
- Add romaine to the bowl, sprinkle with croutons and grated cheese.
- Toss with dressing just before serving.
- Place all of the ingredients in a blender except for the olive oil.
- Blend on high for about 30 seconds to combine.
- With the motor running, slowly pour olive oil into the blender to emulsify.
- Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add cauliflower and boil until tender, 5-7 minutes.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer florets to a large plate. If too much water has evaporated, add extra to the pot and bring to a boil.
- Meanwhile, set a deep, wide pot over medium-low heat. Add oil, onion, garlic and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and slightly caramelized, about 10 minutes.
- Stir in anchovies and rosemary. Cook until aromatic, 2-3 minutes. Increase heat to medium, add cauliflower and season with salt. Cook, stirring often, until florets turn soft and flavorful, 12-15 minutes. If sauce sticks to pot, loosen it with small splashes of pasta water.
- While cauliflower cooks, add orecchiette to boiling water. Cook until al dente. Drain and reserve ½-1 cup cooking water.
- Add pasta to cauliflower mixture. Cook about 2 minutes, tossing to coat. If need be, stretch sauce with splashes of water. Remove from heat. Season to taste with salt, oil and lots of Parmesan.