Seventeen years ago when I met the Blond he looked at me funny when I said that anyone who really wanted to eat well needs to learn how to cook. Back then he lived on scary amounts of chicken and potatoes and would only consume green stuff if it was in the form of gummy bears. I still married him.
About ten years ago both of us became vegetarians for a variety of reasons (I was no longer eating meat for a while, but never declared myself a vegetarian until he did). In the last few years he took over the kitchen and has been perfecting his cooking skills to my utter joy. He came up with the idea to start contributing his culinary creations to the blog- after all, perfume lovers seem to also be food-oriented and enjoy spices, herbs and the aroma of cooking food. We're starting with one of my favorite pasta dishes, orecchiette with oven-roasted cauliflower.
Of course, we had to discuss which perfume goes best with this dish. The Blond was in favor of something light and Italian in nature. I think Eau d'Hadrien would go well here, or maybe something coastal like Miller Harris Fleurs de Sel or The Different Company Sel de Vetiver. Do you have more ideas?
In any case, here's the recipe in the husband's words. He also took all the pictures, and yes, we're more than a little retro when it comes to our kitchen and serving dishes:
Orecchiette with roasted Cauliflower – Sicilian style
I love cauliflower (a truly shocking statement for people who knew me in my pre-vegetarian days).
The savory/sweet taste and creamy / crunchy texture make it (when not boiled to death) a main ingredient that can stand up to bold seasoning and take center stage.
This recipe is a favorite of ours as it requires little more than the fresh cauliflower. Everything else comes from the pantry and the result transports us back to the sunny coasts of Italy.
Two things to note about the preparation:
1. The cauliflower is roasted in the oven. Roasting creates a golden tasty exterior and soft moist interior while not being too greasy.
2. The added benefit of the roasting process is that after the Cauliflower browns well, the pan can be deglazed with white wine. Deglazing adds huge flavor to the dish
Cauliflower (1 medium head)
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
1 lb (450g) short and thick pasta with like Orecchiette
Assorted herbs (Marjoram, Basil, Oregano, Thyme)
Crushed Chili flakes
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 cup raisins
¼ cup pine nuts
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1. Heat the oven to 380 F / 190 C.
2. Break the Cauliflower into florets or slice ( this is a cool trick: after removing the bottom leaves and cutting the end of the stalk, just slice the cauliflower head into ½ inch (1.25 CM) slices. The stem part can then be cut off but all the rest can stay together, which makes prep a lot easier. The stems themselves are delicious, they can be cut into thin ¼ inch slices and added to the rest.
3. Arrange the cut cauliflower in a large baking pan, douse with Olive Oil and sprinkle generously with herbs, salt, pepper and chili flakes to taste.
4. Put in the oven for about 20 minutes until it browns nicely on the bottom. Depending on your oven you may need to turn the Cauliflower slices over so they can get brown on both sides. Total time in the oven is usually around 30 minutes.
5. While the Cauliflower is in the oven:
- · Put the raisins in warm water and let them soak
- · Roast the pine nuts in a small skillet until golden brown.
- · Grate the Parmesan cheese
- · Cook the pasta
6. When the cauliflower is nice and golden from both sides, take out of the oven and pour the wine into the baking pan. Take a spatula and move the florets into a serving bowl. Deglaze the pan scrubbing all the brown stuff with the wine and pour on the cauliflower.
7. Add the raisins (with a little of their soaking water) to the bowl and then the pasta. Mix well, garnish with parmesan and pine nuts. Serve.