Sustainable Cauliflower Ragu
You read correctly. I used the word sustainable. Partly because it’s trendy, but also because this recipe for Cauliflower Ragu uses the WHOLE cauliflower! Leaves, stalk, core, flowers – you don’t throw away anything. And better yet, it tastes good.
What you need for the Cauliflower Ragu
1 medium cauliflower
1⁄2 dl extra virgin olive oil
1 medium white onion, cut into dice
3 garlic cloves, chopped
Maldon or other flaky sea salt
1½ to 2 teaspoons hot red pepper flakes
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 dl freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus extra for serving
1½ teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
What you do
- Halve the cauliflower. Cut off the leaves and reserve them. Cut out the core and reserve it. Chop the cauliflower into small bite-sized florets, reserving the stalks.
- Chop the core, stalks and leaves. (I put them in a food processor because I don’t like “lumps”) Combine the oil, onion, garlic, and cauliflower leaves, stalks, and core in a large pot, season with Maldon salt, and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the leaves are just beginning to wilt, about 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, until the cauliflower leaves are just tender, 18 to 20 minutes.
- Add the cauliflower florets, red pepper flakes, and 2 dl water and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower is very soft and almost falling apart, 22 to 25 minutes. Add the butter, stirring gently until it melts, then season well with Maldon salt and remove from the heat.
Get the Penne ready
- Bring water to a boil in a large pot and add 3 tablespoons kosher salt. Drop in the pasta and cook until just al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1.5dl of the pasta water.
- Add the pasta and some of the reserved pasta water to the cauliflower ragu and stir and toss over medium heat until the pasta is well coated (add a splash or two more of the reserved pasta water if necessary to loosen the sauce). Stir in the cheese.
- Transfer the pasta to a serving bowl, sprinkle with the bread crumbs and rosemary, and serve, with additional grated cheese on the side.
PS: The cauliflower ragu can be prepared up to 3 days ahead. Let cool, then cover and refrigerate; reheat in a large pot over medium-low heat before adding the pasta.)
This recipe is inspired by Batali, and I got my inspiration here. I decided not to use any breadcrumbs, and went extra heavy on the parmesan…