I was stuck at home all day yesterday, while we were having some work done on the house (we were getting central air conditioning installed; I can't live on cold cucumber avocado soup all summer!). Because we'd been away for a few days beforehand, we didn't really have much in the way of food. So I had to throw something together from what we had on hand. I call it "shopping your pantry." That's how this pasta dish was born.
Pasta and bread crumbs may sound a bit heavy to you. Actually, the bread crumbs are light and toasty and add a nice crunch. Plus, the cauliflower (you know I'm obsessed with this cruciferous delight) lends a non-carby element to balance this summery dish. I used frozen cauliflower, but feel free to use fresh. Just cut it into small pieces, so it'll cook through in the skillet; you may have to add a bit more liquid to cook it—use your judgement.
yield: we got two big bowls for dinner plus one small bowl that I consumed for breakfast
- 1T butter
- 1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs (I used panko)
- about 2T grated cheese (I used romano)
- 6-8 ounces pasta (I used linguine)
- 1-2T extra virgin olive oil
- about 2 cups frozen cauliflower florets, thawed, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 5-6 cloves garlic
- 3 scallions, chopped, white and green parts separated
- 2-3T white wine
- salt and pepper, to taste
- couple of pinches red pepper flakes, optional
In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat until foamy. Then add bread crumbs, tossing to coat in butter, until toasted and lightly browned. Remove from pan into small bowl; mix in cheese and about a tablespoon of the green scallion tops.
In the meantime, begin to prepare your pasta according to the directions on the package. While the pasta is cooking, put about a tablespoon of olive oil in the same pan you used for the bread crumbs. Over medium heat, add the garlic, whites of the scallions, and cauliflower to the skillet. Saute until the cauliflower shows some caramelization. Then add the wine until the florets are tender-crisp. Add salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
When pasta is just shy of al dente, reserve about a cup of the cooking water and drain the pasta. Add the drained pasta to the skillet—still over medium heat—with the veggies and toss with some pasta water, as necessary (I added a little at a time; I ended up using about 1/2 cup), till the pasta is coated and turns easily. You may want to add another little drizzle of olive oil. Again, taste and season accordingly.
Put into serving bowls and top with the bread crumb mixture. Sprinkle some more scallion greens on top.
That's it! There's cauliflower in every bite. And that's a great thing.
Do you ever "shop your pantry?"