Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Cauliflower Sauce with Garlic, Oil, and Chili Pepper

Even if you don't like cauliflower, this recipe is worth a shot. The cauliflower is mashed up until it's unrecognizable and given other flavours. I'm tempted to call this recipe healthy, but it does have 1/2 cup of olive oil. I made one major modification to this recipe: substituting fish sauce for the anchovies. The idea of de-boning tiny fishes seemed too much to handle. Technically, I could've tried to find anchovy paste and that would've been more authentic, but I had fish sauce on hand ... and it is made from anchovies. I'm sure Hazan wouldn't approve, but it did make this dish so much easier. (I also subbed chili flakes for fresh, but that seems like less of a sin in comparison!) She says this is 4 - 6 servings for 1 to 1 1/2 pounds pasta. I cut the pasta in half and it still seems like at least 4 servings.

Cauliflower Sauce with Garlic, Oil, and Chili Pepper (adapted from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking)

1 head cauliflower, about 680g
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
chopped red chili pepper or dried flakes, to taste
salt, to taste (go easy on it as fish sauce is salty)
2 tbsp chopped parsley
500g penne pasta

1. Strip cauliflower of leaves. Rinse in cold water and cut in two.
2. Bring 4 - 5 quarts of water to a boil, add cauliflower, and cook until tender 25 - 30 minutes. Drain.
3. In a saucepan, bring water to a boil for pasta. Cook according to package directions.
4. In a saute pan, heat the garlic and olive oil over medium heat until golden brown.
5. Add cauliflower and fish sauce to oil. Break it up until pieces are not bigger than a nut. Turn in oil and mash some of it to a nice pulp.
6. Add chili pepper and salt. Cook for a few more minutes, stirring frequently.
7. Toss with cooked and drained pasta. Add parsley, toss again, and serve.

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