When I got married I spent a lot of time in Italy, staying with my in-laws. I learned a few things about Italian cooking while I was there. This was one of my mother-in-law’s recipes that I really enjoyed. Who would think to mix cauliflower and pasta together with tomato sauce? One of the secrets she gave me is the idea for tre gusti- three flavors. If you want to make a simple and delicious sauce, limit yourself to three key flavors. (This doesn’t include the tomatoes!) Carlitos was actually grunting and shouting while he ate this tonight- I served it with leftover frigadellas from last night, that’s another post entirely!
1 head of cauliflower (sometimes I use brocciflower!)
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 can crushed tomatoes
ditalini- or any small pasta
fresh basil , grated pecorino romano for garnish
I use the big frying pan for this. Chop the onion and start to saute in olive oil. Clean and chop the cauliflower into bite size pieces. Add to pan and let saute a couple of minutes. Add can of crushed tomatoes, and let cook for about 10 minutes covered, stirring occasionaly.
Usually at this point I remove about 1/2 of the sauce and put it in a tupperware to freeze for another time. This is best fresh, the pasta tends to suck up all of the sauce in the fridge and turn mushy. 1/2 the recipe here is enough for 4 people served with a salad or as a side dish to accompany meat. Then I sprinkle the pasta on top of what’s still in the pan (a little less than 1/2 a box) and add some water to cover, give it a stir,. and cook until pasta is al dente. Serve with a sprig or two of basil and some grated cheese, and your kids may be screaming for more too. My friend Kim calls it italian mac and cheese. Buon appetito!