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Pasta with Spicy Cauliflower and Walnuts

February 19, 2010

I wouldn’t call myself a picky eater.  Sure, there are things that I’d prefer not to eat, but that isn’t necessarily because I think these items taste bad.  Take, for instance, fugu, the potentially deadly delicacy found in Japan.  I’d definitely prefer not to eat that.  But I’m sure it’s delicious.

I also thought that I preferred not to eat hot olives.  Not hot, like spicy (do those exist?), hot like temperature.  Normally, I’d just avoid dishes that were served warm and contained olives.  Turns out that I like hot olives just fine.  And that’s a good thing, because they add a perfectly unique and subtle flavor to this pasta dish.  Quite frankly, I wouldn’t bother whipping this up if you plan on omitting them.

I’m also loving the addition of toasted nuts in pasta dishes lately.  Don’t bother tossing in a handful of chilled nuts from your refrigerator – toast those puppies.  That’s what makes for an RQ meal.

What’s an RQ meal?  That’s lingo for restaurant-quality here in the Branny household.  Thanks be to the Omnivore for that terminology.

One Year Ago Today: Spaghetti and Wheatballs

Pasta with Spicy Cauliflower and Walnuts (serves 2 inspired by recipes from Mollie Katzen and Deborah Madison)
1.5 cups dry whole wheat penne pasta
1 14oz can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup red wine
1 small onion, diced
1 small can black olives (4oz)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup walnuts, toasted
1 T fresh oregano
1/2 of a medium head of cauliflower, diced into florets
freshly chopped parsley, to garnish

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Quickly blanch diced cauliflower for 3-4 minutes in boiling water.  Remove with a strainer.  Boil pasta in the pot.  In a saucepan, sautee onions, adding red wine once they begin to soften.  Add diced tomatoes, olives, and cauliflower as well as red pepper and oregano.  Simmer over low heat as pasta cooks, adding ladels of pasta water as needed.  Once pasta is al dente, plate into two portions, adding spicy cauliflower sauce on top and garnishing with toasted walnuts and parsley.

Serves 2
Calories 346.5
Total Fat 16.5 g
Cholesterol 18.8 mg
Sodium 552.1 mg
Potassium 775.1 mg
Total Carbohydrate 36.4 g
Protein 9.5 g

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