It begins with fresh, naturally grown ingredients. Clean flavors, bright colors or even brilliant whites. Like waking up to a new snow that’s settled on the frozen ground.
I like white. Ask Ranger Craig. He’ll tell you I have an obsession with white. It seems every trip to Costco I come home with a package of white towels, white wash cloths, or white kitchen rags. Last trip I came home with white bed linens. I like white.
It’s a good thing I like white. I read recently that cauliflower is making a comeback.
A comeback? Hmmm… I never got the memo that it left. (Ok, I had to be a little sassy)
I’ve been preparing cauliflower for years. Even when it wasn’t the cool veggie. I like cauliflower. Roasted, baked with lots of good quality cheese, steamed and mashed. I even like it raw or fried with a spicy aioli for dipping.
Cauliflower is my inspiration for this winter white dish. Fresh, enticing, distinctive in flavor and sporting the color of winter. The taste of comfort… like a soft white blanket.
Roasted Cauliflower Fettuccine with Garlic Béchamel and Toasted Pine Nuts
This is a simple dish. Simply flavored with its few ingredients. To change things up I like playing with different types of cheese. I’ve used Manchengo, a firm goats cheese, Parrano, and mixed a few other fave Italian cheeses with it as well. If you don’t care for garlic, substitute with 1 shallot finely chopped. Buon Appetito!
Serves 4-6 or serve as a side for grilled/roasted meats or poultry
1lb Fettuccine or Pappardelle
1 head fresh cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 Garlic cloves, minced
A squeeze of anchovy paste
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups whole milk, warmed
Squeeze of lemon
½ cup fresh grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Pre-heat the oven to 400F. Toss the trimmed cauliflower florets with the olive oil and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake in the oven for about 8-10 minutes or until the cauliflower is crisp tender. Remove from the oven and season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Set aside.
Prepare the fettuccine according to package directions. While the fettuccine is cooking prepare the béchamel.
In a large sauce pan heat the 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. When the butter is just about melted, whisk in the garlic and anchovy and gently cook until the anchovy is incorporated into the butter. Just a few seconds to a minute. Don’t allow the butter or garlic to brown.
Whisk in the flour and allow the flour to cook just for a minute or two, again, careful not to brown. Slowly whisk in the warm milk and continue whisking until nicely incorporated. As the sauce heats it will thicken. Continue gently whisking until the sauce begins to thicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add the roasted cauliflower and ¼ cup toasted pine nuts to the fettuccine, add a squeeze of lemon and then toss with the sauce. The squeeze of lemon is used to elevate and bring all the flavors together in this dish.
Pour the pasta into a large serving bowl and garnish with fresh grated cheese and remaining pine nuts. Serve immediately.
Serve as an entrée or as a side dish.
For another fun Cauliflower dish check out my Cauliflower Mashers: