ORECHIETTE WITH ROASTED CAULIFLOWER – I’m in a New York State of mind

“London is satisfied, Paris is resigned, but New York is always hopeful. Always it believes that something good is about to come off, and it must hurry to meet it.” —Dorothy Parker

Hi there,

I hadn’t been in New York City for well over a year. There were times during the height of the Covid epidemic that I had resigned myself to having to live with only memories of the excitement of being in that city. But, when The Manhatten Theatre Club announced a live season for 2021, my friend and I gambled on buying theatre tickets and returning to NYC.

So on a beautiful October Sunday recently we traveled to the City. The experience was exhilarating and spooky at the same time. The parking lot where we always jockeyed to get a parking spot was virtually empty. The streets were quiet. For the first time in my life, I could really see the vista of Times Square because of the lack of crowds. We went out to lunch and adjusted to all the new rules about getting seated in a NYC restaurant. But the staff were welcoming and seemed very happy to have visitors again. We ate at Bond 45 and I had Orecchiette with Cauliflower. The orecchiette was made perfectly and I am going to share a recipe for that dish today. It is a perfect pasta dish for the fall when the cruciferous vegetables have bloomed in their full glory.

After lunch, we went to see Lackawanna Blues. Rueben Santiago-Hudson is a superb storyteller and actor. He gave an amazing one man performance giving voice to over 20 different characters that illustrated his childhood in Lackawanna, New York. If you get a chance to see this show, don’t miss it.

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER ORECCHIETTE

Ingredients:

1 head cauliflower chopped into ½-inch pieces
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
½ teaspoon kosher salt divided
1 pound orecchiette pasta
1/3 cup fresh bread crumbs
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese divided
4 cloves garlic chopped
5 anchovy filets packed in oil chopped
½ teaspoon chili flakes
3 tablespoons chopped parsley

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 400°F. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss together the cauliflower, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and ½ teaspoon salt. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, turning the cauliflower midway through, until golden brown and cooked thoroughly. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until al dente. Drain well, reserving 1½ cups of pasta water.
Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the bread crumbs and toast until fragrant and golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove to a small bowl and mix with 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese.
In that same large sauté pan, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and anchovies and stir with a wooden spoon, breaking up the anchovies to help them dissolve in the oil. This will take about 2 minutes. Add the chili flakes and the cauliflower and toss gently to coat.
Add to the pan the cooked pasta, half of the reserved pasta water, remaining ½ cup cheese, and the parsley. Toss to coat, and simmer for another 2 minutes, adding additional pasta water as needed to moisten. Sprinkle with the bread crumb mixture and drizzle with more olive oil if desired.

Enjoy your Halloween goodies, Bernadette

39 comments

    1. I think this recipe might help you like cauliflower because it is roasted. Boiled cauliflower leaves a lot to be desired as far as taste. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

  1. I have not been to NYC ( we live an hour and a half away) since Covid. Friends have gone in to see shows but I’m not ready. It sounds like you still had a great day out despite it being less people and activity. Love the recipe.

    1. Hi Judee, Fingers crossed that things will get better and better. I live in southern New Jersey. It takes us about 2 hours to get to the city. We are so lucky to live so close. Happy Halloween🎃

  2. Sounds like a fun get away. So greta we are finally able to do these things again, even if somewhat changed. the recipe looks delicious.

      1. Things are returning to normal. All restrictions are lifted except for wearing masks indoors in public places. The beaches are full and the restaurants are busy again. People are smiling. All is good.

    1. Hi Mimi, I made a similar recipe that called for boiling the cauliflower and then cooking the pasta in the vegetable water but it just tasted mushy to me. Thanks for stopping by. Happy Halloween🎃

  3. Ooh. This sounds marvelous, Benadette. I especially liked the addition of anchovies – something a little unique for the taste buds. Yum. I’m printing this one for the next shopping list. Have a lovely weekend, my friend, and Happy Halloween. <3

  4. Roasted cauliflower is the best! Even my husband will eat it if I roast it. And if I married it with pasta, as you have done here, he would ask for seconds!

    I’m glad you finally had a chance to get back into the city. We enjoyed it when we were up there at the end of August. A few places were eerily quiet, as you described, but we found plenty of company out and about in the parks.

    1. It is a good way to win over unsure cauliflower palates. We went up again 2 weeks ago and had the same experience. It’s strange but not unpleasant to have the sidewalks not so crowded.

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