Pan Roasted Roman Cauliflower with Caramelized Garlic, Red Pepper & Pecorino Over Handmade Pappardelle

Even without the “wow factor” of making your own fresh pasta, this simple, visually interesting dish has plenty of “wow” factor to go the flavor mile.

Choosing the right extra virgin olive oil to use in this dish was crucial with so few ingredients involved.  The simple yet luxuriant sauce relies heavily on the olive oil used.

For this application, I went with Ultra Premium A.L. Arbequina IOO346.  It had the right herbaceous apple-peel notes and just enough pepper which juxtaposed perfectly with the earthy-nuttiness of the roasted cauliflower,  sweet caramelized garlic, and savory saltiness of the Pecorino cheese.  The taste testers (my family) which included two young kids, declared love at first bite!  Everyone exclaimed that it was absolutely amazing!  So I declared this meatless dish a healthy, easy weeknight meal if you use dried pasta or a dish to serve for a special occasion if you choose to make your own fresh pasta.

Pan Roasted Roman Cauliflower with Caramelized Garlic & Pecorino over Pappardelle

1 large head of Green Roman Cauliflower florets only (regular cauliflower can be substituted)

8 medium cloves of garlic (sliced thin)

1/2 cup Arbequina IOO346

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

1/2 cup good quality fresh grated Pecorino cheese

1/2 cup heavy cream

sea salt & fresh ground pepper to taste

If using, make the homemade pasta an hour in advance of proceeding with the rest of the recipe.  If using dried pasta, boil the pasta in the water that was used to blanch the cauliflower.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  In a large saute pan, heat the Arbequina over medium heat.  Add the garlic and saute until light golden brown (be very careful not to burn the garlic) Blanch the cauliflower florets for 2 minutes.  Remove, drain, and add to the saute pan with the garlic along with the red chili flakes.

Meanwhile, boil the fresh pasta for two minutes in the same water used to blanch the cauliflower.

Saute the cauliflower, garlic and chili flakes for a few more minutes over medium-high heat until the cauliflower begins to get toasty golden brown around the edges.  Add one cup of pasta water, the Pecorino, and cream to the pan with the cauliflower and garlic.  Simmer for a minute until slightly thickened, and add a few grinds of fresh ground pepper.  Add the well drained pappardelle to the pan and toss to coat the pasta and distribute the cauliflower florets.  Adjust seasoning with salt to taste.  Add more cheese to serve.

Makes 4-6 servings

Homemade Pappardelle

1 1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour

1/2 cup semolina flour

3 large, fresh eggs

1 tablespoon Arbequina IOO346

a pinch of sea salt

Pulse the dry ingredients in the food processor, add the eggs and pulse until a ball forms.  Knead for about a minute until the ball becomes smooth. wrap in plastic or cover with a bowl and allow to the dough to relax  for an hour. divide the dough dish into 8 equal pieces and run them through your pasta machine through setting #6.  Cut the sheets in to pappardelle sized noodles and arrange on racks or dust with flour to prevent sticking.

Confit of Tomatoes, Peppers, & Sweet Red Onions

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds small whole sweet tomatoes such as cherry or grape

1 large red onion, sliced thin

1 red bell pepper or several smaller sweet red peppers such as Marconi, sliced thin or halved if smaller

8 large garlic cloves

1 – 2″ sprig fresh rosemary, leaves only, stem discarded (optional)

1/2 cup fresh, herbaceous-green 300+ poly EVOO such as Leccino IOO302, or IOO301 Frantoio

1/3 cup crisp, good quality white wine

1 tablespoon Traditional Balsamic Condimento

2 teaspoons sea salt or kosher salt

Fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions

Adjust rack to middle of oven, and preheat to 300.

In a medium roasting pan (9″x13″) or a 12″ oven safe skillet, combine the first five ingredients.  Whisk the wine, balsamic, and olive oil together, drizzle over the vegetables and toss to combine.  Season with salt and pepper.

Place the pan on the middle rack in the oven, uncovered, and allow the vegetables to cook slowly, stirring only a few times during the process, being careful not to break the tomatoes.  Slow roast for 4 – 4 1/2 hours.

The resulting confit, or tomato “jam” can be used to dress pasta, slather on crusty bread, or as an accompaniment to slow roasted meats or poultry.

Cranberry-Pear Balsamic Glazed Butternut Squash with Rosemary

Cranberry-Pear Glazed Butternut Squash With Rosemary

1 – 2 pound butternut squash peeled, seeded and diced in to 1″ pieces (about 3 cups)

1/3 cup cranberry-pear white balsamic

1 tablespoon “sweet” fruity olive oil such as Australian Hojiblanca or Alfonso Arbequina

3″ sprig fresh rosemary, leaves stripped from stem and roughly chopped

Sea salt & fresh cracked pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375.

In a large bowl whisk the olive oil and balsamic together until thoroughly combined.  Add the rosemary and squash and toss to coat and combine evenly.

In a large roasting pan lined with parchment, arrange the squash in a single layer, drizzling with any remaining marinade.  Sprinkle liberally with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.

Roast the squash for 30-35 minutes, stirring a few times until golden brown and caramelized.  Adjust seasoning and serve.

Pomegranate Balsamic Glazed & Grilled Rib-Eye Steak

Oh yeah baby!  This recipe couldn’t be more simple or flavorful.  It also doesn’t hurt that rib-eye steak is an amazing cut of beef.  Due to its intrinsic marbling it’s also a forgiving cut even when slightly over cooked.

Pomegranate Balsamic Grill Sauce

1/3 cup  Pomegranate Balsamic

1/4 cup Organic Garlic Olive Oil

1 Tbs. good quality Dijon style mustard

2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt

Instructions

Prepare the grill or broiler.  In a medium bowl, whisk the mustard with the salt, and balsamic until blended thoroughly.  Slowly drizzle in the olive oil whisking quickly and continuously.  The marinade should become thick and emulsified.   In a seal-able container or large zip lock bag, place up to four rib-eye steaks and thoroughly coat with the marinade.  Refrigerate and marinate for 4-6 hours, turning the steaks at least once during the process.

Proceed with grilling or broiling the steaks.  After cooking, allow the steaks to rest, loosely covered at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.