Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pasta you will love!

The combo of toasted pine nuts and sweet currants adds wonderful flavors to this simple dish, based on pasta (I used orichiette or "little ears", probably misspelled) and cauliflower that's cooked until it's just tender but still al dente. I've substituted raisins for the currants with no ill effects, but the smaller sized fruit works better in terms of taste balance in each bite.

Pasta with Cauliflower, Currants and Pine Nuts
Serves 4

Note: You can omit the anchovies if you prefer, but the ingredient does add depth to the dish. Without the anchovies, it's a vegetarian main course.

½ cup dried currants
¼ cup white wine
3 cups cauliflower florets, steamed lightly until tender but still firm
¼ cup olive oil
4 anchovy filets
½ cup pine nuts, toasted
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 pound pasta, preferably whole wheat (can use spaghetti type pasta or shapes such as penne), cooked according to package directions
¼ cup water
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup dry bread crumbs, toasted
1/3 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

Soak currants in wine for about 15 minutes and set aside.
Heat a large skillet and add olive oil. Add anchovies and cook over high heat for about 1 minute, mashing them with a wooden spoon. Add cauliflower and cook until it begins to brown. Add pine nuts, currents in the wine and crushed red pepper. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until the liquid evaporates, about 5 minutes. Stir in cooked pasta, water and half of the grated cheese. When dish is heated through, adjust seasonings and add salt and pepper to taste, then transfer to a large serving bowl, sprinkle with toasted bread crumbs and the rest of the cheese. Serve immediately.

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