What does a not-very-true-to-the-original-recipe Pasta Puttanesca sauce have to do with my recent trip to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York, America?
Not very much at all. However, I must've been really, really excited to eat this - excited to the point of shaking - because when I uploaded the photos and saw them on the big screen, all but one were hopelessly blurry. And I was really, seriously excited to see THE Brooklyn, NY. And I was so excited once I got there, I sort of forgot to take pictures of it, too.
I was there for a whirlwind 48 hours, and my equally-high-energy, fast-walking friend Jesse and I managed to fit about a week's worth of fun into said hours. An incomplete list of where and what:
- Brunch at Juliette in Williamsburg, where we saw a movie being filmed
- Trip to SoHo to go to Madewell, the J. Crew brand for slouchy hipsters
- Appearance at a surprise party at Bowery Bar, followed by...
- Urs Fischer opening at the New Museum
- Pile of fries (with ketchup and mayo) at a German bar I can't remember the name of
- Drinks at Nita Nita in Brooklyn
- Brunch at Lodge in Williamburg (I had an absolutely amazing curry tofu scramble)
- Inaugural trip to Bergdorf Goodman on 59th - I touched a $12,000 Oscar de la Renta gown
- Just-for-kicks stop into the new LV store, which is winning design awards left and right
- A quick stop into 10-ft. Single, consistently named the Best Vintage Store in the County (and trust me, it's incredible)
- *Amazing* dinner at Dressler - I had the duck. There are no words.
- *Equally amazing* dessert at Marlow and Sons - apple crisp that blew. my. mind.
At any rate, after Hurricane Brooklyn, I was pretty much too exhausted to cook much of anything last week, but I did manage to eke out this simple dish. Puttanseca is traditionally made with pancetta (and not with a mirepoix base); it's basically just a simple, spicy tomato sauce. Since I've been on a major cauliflower kick for the past, oh, 6 months or so, I thought I'd throw that in, too. I actually love the flavor of black olives with cauliflower. They both have a subtle bitterness that goes nicely together, and the capers and olives help to add a nice saltiness to the otherwise pretty bland flavor of cauliflower.
1 head cauliflower, chopped into florets
1/2 lb. whole wheat rigatoni
1 small onion
1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
1 rib celery, peeled and thinly sliced
2 T. olive oil
handful kalamata olives, chopped
1/2 small container capers (or less, depending on how much you like capers)
1 large can crushed tomato with basil
1/2 can tomato paste
glug of red wine
salt to taste
pinch of red pepper flakes
fresh chopped parsley
grated parmesan, optional
Heat olive oil in a large, deep pot. Cook onion, celery, and carrot over medium heat, seasoning with salt and pepper, until softened and translucent, 5-7 minutes. Pour in wine and stir, scraping any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot, stir, cover, and cook until the cauliflower is tender (about 10 minutes).
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in salted water. Drain. Place some pasta into two bowls. Top with the cauliflower puttanesca and cheese. Enjoy!
I'm always sad to leave New York, but I always know that I'll be back. Hopefully very, very soon. And admittedly, I was happy to come back to my tiny little apartment, my better half, and this little ball of love:
Thanks for reading! More soon...