Pasta with walnuts and ricotta salata is one of my favorite uses of cauliflower. I had never had ricotta salata before I first tried this recipe, but it is a great cheese — mild, crumbly and salty. It pairs so well with the crisp cauliflower, onions, and toasted walnuts. This dish is great with any kind of cauliflower, and I love that it can be put together in just a few minutes, especially if you do the prep work in advance.
We had this for dinner the other night with a salad of butter lettuce and breakfast radishes from our CSA — yum!
Hubby and I split up the duties, since it was kind of a hectic evening (but what weeknight isn’t nowadays?). I chopped everything and cooked the pasta, and then he took over the cooking and put it all together. That’s what I call team work!
As far as I’m concerned, this is pretty much the ideal weeknight meal. Try it out — I think you’ll like it!
I’m always looking for new ideas, so… what’s your favorite weeknight meal?
Cauliflower Pasta with Walnuts and Ricotta Salata
Original recipe from Chez Panisse Vegetables by Alice Waters, with my modifications
1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 white onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil, plus extra for tossing the pasta
1/2 pound whole wheat pasta (I like angel hair or spaghetti, but fettuccine is fine, too)
salt and pepper
1 pinch red pepper flakes
white wine vinegar
1/4 cup toasted walnuts
4 ounces ricotta salata cheese
Cook the pasta in boiling salted water according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium high heat and add the cauliflower. When the cauliflower begins to soften, season with salt and pepper and add the onion and red pepper flakes.
Sauté until the onion is soft and a little golden brown, and the cauliflower is crisp-tender with some brown spots. Add the garlic and remove from the heat, stirring so the garlic doesn’t burn. Add a splash each of vinegar and lemon juice and the toasted walnuts. Taste and correct the seasoning.
When the pasta is done, drain and add to the vegetables, adding enough olive oil to coat the pasta thoroughly. Toss together, and serve with the cheese crumbled over the dish.