April 1, 2008

Penne Con Cavolofiore

Last night I had the pleasure of stretching my culinary legs into the kitchen as opposed to the dining room. It was a friend's birthday and we decided that the best celebrate would be to cook a good meal and a cake. I decided to take on the the main course and pulled out one of my staple recipes. Penne Con Cavolofiore, aka Penne with Cauliflower, by none other than Mario Batali. I came across this recipe in Food Network Favorites: Recipes from Our All-Star Chefs, which is a fantastic book that I have been slowly working my way through. The book has a nice mix of different types of recipes from Food Networks Stable of Celebrity Chefs, including some real winners from Mario, Paula Dean and Bobby Flay. I highly suggest picking this one up.

This particular recipe is great because it classic Italian. Simple ingredients and simple preparation ends in a completely amazing meal. I would highly suggest trying this one out.


  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 pounds tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped, or 4 cups plum tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 1 head cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 1/2 cup very hot water, plus 6 quarts
  • 2 tablespoons salt, plus more, for seasoning
  • 1 pound dry penne
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 bunches Italian parsley, finely chopped to yield 1/2 cup
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated caciocavallo, Parmigiano-Reggiano or pecorino
In a 12 to 14-inch saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat and add garlic. Cook gently until softened and very light golden brown, then add tomatoes and cook, stirring, until tomatoes begin to break down. Add cauliflower and stir well. Add 1/2 cup very hot water, lower heat to medium and cook 30 minutes, or until cauliflower is tender.

Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons salt. Add the penne, and cook according to package directions, until tender yet al dente.

Drain and add to pan with cauliflower. Stir in parsley and black pepper to taste and toss 1 minute over high heat. Divide evenly among 6 warmed pasta bowls, top with grated cheese, and serve immediately.

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