Monday, September 22, 2008

Penne with Leeks & Roasted Cauliflower

Don't look now, but I think I detect the flavors of fall creeping into the menu.

I like simple pasta dishes. The whole wheat varieties have arrived at a point where you no longer have to fear they'll have the flavor and texture of cardboard. They really are extremely good. I also like robust flavors and between the roasted cauliflower and the leeks, this dish has plenty.

While the pasta is cooking in a large pot of salted water, break a whole head of cauliflower into florets and toss them in a bowl with extra-virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and any of your other favorite seasonings--I use a shake of garlic salt and onion powder. Spread the cauliflower on a baking sheet and roast it in a 450-degree oven, turning once until the cauliflower has browned here and there and is just barely done.

Meanwhile, in a big iron skillet or saute pan, gently cook a medium-sized leek, cleaned and cut into bite-size pieces, in a tablespoon or two of extra-virgin olive oil. Season with salt to bring out the juices. I prefer to cook this covered just to speed things along.

When the leek is soft, add the cauliflower, a handful of cherry tomatoes sliced in half and a generous splash of white vermouth or white wine. Cover and cook a couple of minutes longer until the cauliflower is soft. Drain the cooked pasta and stir it into the skillet. Dress with some more olive oil, if desired, and adjust the seasoning.

I made this as a side dish, but I could easily see it served all on its own with a crisp glass of white wine to celebrate the changing of the seasons.


Sharon said...

Definitely on the menu as a main course later this week. Molte Grazie.

Julia said...

This looks fantastic! And I can think of a few people that would love it too ;)