Atlanta is experiencing freezing rain and low temperatures…its not big news for most parts of the country…winter weather in winter!!!!! But for Atlanta, this is just not normal…though I do have to admit …every year it seems like winter is extending its time in this part of the country by a few more weeks!! Anyway, as a result schools are closed and I have been stuck home with kids who have excess energy to burn since they can’t go outside to run and play!!! There is also the drama that comes along with every meal..”this again, why can’t you make something different???” Its been hard enough making sure that a hot, home cooked meal is on the table every day when you’re trying to keep the kids from eating junk, making sure they have something to do other than watch tv constantly and close the door everytime a friend of theirs waltzes in , so that the house is warm!!! I’m ranting now aren’t I??? Oops, lets get back to the topic at hand….I was lucky enough to have done my grocery shopping before the roads iced over but that also presents a problem…too many choices!!! Bored with rice, roti, dosa etc., I decided to make pasta.
I didn’t want to use a tomato based sauce …quite frankly I’m bored of it!!! I also wanted it to be very simple…yes, it’s a holiday and I have the time but quite honestly I wasn’t in the mood to cook an elaborate dish…I had TV shows to catch up on, reading to finish, not to mention the list of chores that had piled up….you know going thru the kids closet and removing the clothes that don’t fit, cleaning out the basement shelves etc.……the ones that I’ve been putting off for weeks!!!! So out came one of my favorite veggies, also my go to veggie…cauliflower. I love the taste of roasted cauliflower….it somehow becomes more luscious and sweeter. I decided to go simple with just garlic, lime zest, lime juice and mint. I also added pine nuts for their buttery texture and crunch. I tossed it all with the ear shaped pasta called Campanelle. Interesting fact….boxers often develop what is known as Cauliflower ears after being boxed in the ears repeatedly. The edges curl and end up looking like the veggie. Not the image you want when you’re eating but it just popped into my mind and lets face it I’m rambling today!!!! The pasta, however, has a ruffled edge and looked more beautiful and appetizing to eat!!!!
It was delicious pasta..light with floral notes from the lime zest and a punch from it too. The roasted cauliflower was luscious but had some crunchy bits too. Mint made it fresh and added an herbaceous note that elevated this simple dish. Raisins added sweetness and pine nuts gave it more crunch. I left the garlic and cauliflower on the stove for a couple more minutes than I anticipated…a series of “ mommy “ calls do that!!! I was worried that I had burnt it but the low temperature had instead roasted it resulting in an addictive mixture that had both V and I fighting over those bits!!!!
Campanelle Pasta with Cauliflower
2 cups Cauliflower florets, cut small
3-4 cloves Garlic, minced
1 tsp. Red Chilli Flakes
2 tbsp. Olive Oil
3-4 Tbsp. Golden Raisins
3-4 Tbsp. Pine nuts, lightly toasted
3-4 tbsp. Mint, cut in a chiffonade
Juice and Zest of a Lime
Salt to taste
½ ib. uncooked Campanelle pasta (any short pasta will work)
First, get the water for the pasta on the stove. When it starts boiling, add salt and cook the pasta. (Now in my house it goes pasta al dente by a little bit as that’s how they like it but al dente basically means its cooked but still ahs a chew when you bite in)
Sauté the garlic in the olive oil along with the red pepper flakes. (I like spicy food, but if you do not use half the amount or even less)
Add the cauliflower and sauté over low heat until the garlic is golden brown and the cauliflower is soft but still holds its shape. (I leave it in a single layer without stirring which gives it a blistered look reminiscent of oven-roasted cauliflower)
Add the lime juice, salt, lime zest, raisins and pine nuts. Sauté another 2-3 minutes.
Toss in the cooked, drained pasta and mix well. (When draining the pasta, I don’t do a good job…there’s always some cooking liquid left and this provides a sauce for an otherwise dry pasta dish)
Add the mint and serve.