The breezy style of this pasta recipe is perfectly suited to the solo cook. Author Deborah Madison calls for a range of amounts: 1/4 to 1/2 a head of cauliflower, "as much as you want to eat, by eye"; 2 to 4 ounces of pasta; a handful of parsley leaves; and the like. More-exact amounts are given here, but feel free to adjust according to taste. After all, you have only yourself to please.
- 1 1/2 cups (about 5 ounces) cauliflower florets, broken or cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 ounces dried whole-wheat pasta, such as penne or rigatoni
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or more to taste
- Leaves from 2 to 4 stems of flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1 large clove garlic, minced (1 1/4 teaspoons)
- 1/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
- Kosher or sea salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for garnish
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the cauliflower and cook for about 2 minutes or until it is just starting to become tender. Use a slotted spoon to transfer it to a bowl, then add the pasta to the boiling water. Cook until the pasta is just al dente (according to the package directions).
While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the crushed red pepper flakes and cook for about a minute, then add the parsley, garlic, walnuts and the blanched cauliflower; stir to combine, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce the heat to low to keep the mixture warm.
When the pasta is ready, use a slotted spoon to add it to the skillet, then toss to incorporate. Taste, and adjust the seasoning. Sprinkle with the cheese once the portion is plated.
Adapted from "What We Eat When We Eat Alone," by Deborah Madison and Patrick McFarlin (Gibbs Smith, 2009).
Tested by Joe Yonan.
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