Pasta with Cauliflower, feta, and walnuts

This was pasta week, there was an epic fail of a recipe that we won’t bore you with and then there was this. A unique spin on “healthy” eating these days is to use less pasta and add in vegetables to fill out the dish. Cauliflower is not usually something we crave here at Urban Kitchen… except maybe the kind we all grew up on with the buttery baked bread crumb topping- but this, this was even better- and it’s really good for you too. The method is to saute ( stir fry) the cauliflower so it retains some texture, (and doesn’t turn in to mush) this really adds a nice flavor complexity.  Insert garlic, red pepper flakes, onion… brightened with fresh lemon and parsley… topped with toasted walnuts and goat’s milk feta- all tossed in with nutty whole wheat pasta; oh my, I wish I still had some to eat ( by the way- left overs at lunch were phenomenal!)  It is so flavorful with tons of garlic and onion, fits in a regular dutch oven style pan and made 5 normal sized portions. The extra red pepper flakes give it just the right amount of heat, I drizzled more olive oil before serving along with the fresh parsley, which really brightens up this dish visually and flavor wise, and the goats milk feta is just perfect- it’s more mellow and creamy then standard feta!  Please try this recipe if it sound sup your alley and let us know what you think- are we crazy or is this really, really THAT good?

Ingredients:
1 head cauliflower 
1 medium onion
4 LARGE cloves garlic 
1/2 lb whole-wheat pasta 
1/4 cup Extra-virgin olive oil ( divided) 
Salt and pepper ( to taste) 
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes 
2 tsp Champagne vinegar
1/2 lemon
1/2 cup toasted walnuts ( chopped)
4 ounces goat’s milk feta cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Put a large pot of water on to boil. Cut the cauliflower into small flowerets. Peel the onion and slice it very thin. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Put the pasta on to cook.

Saute the cauliflower in olive oil in a large saute pan. When the cauliflower begins to soften, season with salt and pepper and add the sliced onion and red pepper flakes. Saute over medium to high heat until the vegetables are brown and tender. The cauliflower should still be slightly crunchy and should not taste steamed. Add the garlic and remove from the heat, tossing and stirring so the garlic doesn’t burn; if it starts to brown, add a splash of water. Add the vinegar and lemon juice and the toasted walnuts. Taste and correct the seasoning. When the pasta is done, drain and add to the cauliflower, adding enough extra-virgin olive oil to coat the pasta thoroughly, toss together and serve, with the parsley and cheese crumbled over the dish.

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