November 12, 2009

Cauliflower Parmesan Pasta

This is a recipe that was passed along through my wife's family, specifically her brother Chris (whom we owe many thanks for this and other things). We've brought it/made it for quite a few dinner parties and its always a hit - in fact, any meal that is cheap, delicious, creamy and cheesy and that you can prepare in an hour is a hit as far as i'm concerned.

The first step is to salt and boil about 8 cups of water. Chop up a large head of cauliflower into large portions and boil for 15 minutes. Save the water from the cauliflower and bring back to a boil, preparing 1 1lb box of ziti.

After the pasta goes in the pot, you create a roux. This is something that i've learned over time making bacon gravy, but I digress. I use about 3 tablespoons of butter, the higher quality the better, melted over very low heat. Add flour slowly and stir until the mixture turns very thick but still retains a liquid form. Keep stirring over low heat for about 5 minutes, letting the roux darken a bit, which adds a bit of nuttiness to the flavor.

Heat 2 cups of milk and add slowly into the roux - stop once the sauce reaches the consistency of a nice gravy but remember that the heat will thicken as you mix it. Once you hit this point, add 1/2 cup of nice parmesan or pecorino/romano or similar cheese and the boiled cauliflower. Stir and add about 2 Tbsp of milk until you reach a uniform consistency.

Add the pasta and then salt and pepper to taste.


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