Thursday, 3 September 2009

Tyler's Sicilian Spaghetti

I kept promising myself, every time I passed this recipe in his book, that I would make it as soon as I had a nice head of cauliflower in my possession. I loved the idea of it before I even tried it.
Cauliflower is simmered and sauteed, seasoned, and tossed with pasta, raisins and nuts. It sounded so crazy, it had to work.
At first I was going to use our usual whole wheat pasta, but I discovered that I only had a half pound box. I went ahead and used the whole pound of white pasta, but thought later that I could have gotten away with the half pound. I like a good stuff to noodle ratio. No matter. The dish was very tasty, and I loved the crispy breadcrumbs on top. Those Italians, geniuses!

Sicilian-Style Spaghetti
Tyler Florence, Tyler's Ultimate
Serves 4

Kosher salt
1 head of cauliflower; cored and broken into small florets
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 anchovy fillets, mashed to a paste with the side of a large knife
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound spaghetti
Leaves from 1/2 small bunch of parsley, chopped
juice of 1/2 a lemon
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for serving

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. Preheat the oven to 350.
Saute the cauliflower and the anchovies in a saute pan in 1/4 cup of olive oil. Heat over medium heat until the oil is hot and the anchovies are sizzling. Add 1/4 cup of water and season with salt. Bring to a simmer, heat on medium, cover and and steam the cauliflower for about 5 minutes. Uncover and cook for about 5-7 minutes more until the water has evaporated and the cauliflower is starting to brown. Add the raisins and pine nuts and toss to warm through. Remove the pan from the heat and cover to keep warm.
On a baking sheet, drizzle the panko with 2-3 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat and spread out in a layer on a baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes or until it's lightly brown and crunchy.
Cook the spaghetti until al dente.
Drain the spaghetti and place in a large bowl. Add a 2 count of olive oil and toss. Dump in the cauliflower mixture, add the parsley and lemon juice, and fold together. Arrange on a plate and sprinkle with the bread crumbs and cheese.

*I threw on a few capers, for Deb, and garnished with some Juliette tomatoes. I happen to have a lot of tomatoes at the moment and they are finding their way into a lot of dishes. I still haven't found a way to make them go with breakfast cereal.. but I'm working on it.

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