Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cauliflower Puttanesca

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.

CAULIFLOWER PUTTANESCA

INGREDIENTS

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
black pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes
fresh chopped parsley
grated parmesan, optional

STEP 1

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.

STEP 2

Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot, stir, cover, and cook until the cauliflower is tender (about 10 minutes).

STEP 3

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...

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