Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Cauliflower & Peppers Pasta with Pesto

So it is harvest and our local farmers' market is jam packed with delicious end of summer/early fall produce. Last Saturday I bought bushels of cauliflower, bell peppers, cilantro, tomatoes and a large bag of garlic perfect for storing in the pantry this winter. The weather people warned of chilly 34-degree nights this week so I harvested the remaining basil from my garden.  What to make? Pasta with loads of vegetables and pesto of course.

Happily, this is cauliflower week at Food Network's Fall Fest so the timing for this recipe could not be better. The vegetables are pan-charred for taste and texture and the spicy pesto is made with basil, (I used green and purple varieties today) cilantro, red pepper flakes, cheese and walnuts. Oh...and extra virgin olive oil. Use a big, bold, spicy oil for this dish. You will have leftover pesto which I think is a huge benefit. Cover the remaining pesto with olive oil and Saran wrap and keep in your fridge for a few days. Perfect as a spread on sandwiches, as a dip for fresh vegetables, dolloped on soup or just eat with crackers, cheese and bread for a wonderful lunch or appetizer plate.  So very good!

Cauliflower & Peppers Pasta with Spicy Pesto
serves 8

(you will have leftover pesto...score!)

2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
2 cloves garlic
3/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (use a bold, spicy one for this), plus more for covering
sea salt
black pepper
1/2-1 Tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Add first 5 ingredients to the bowl of a  food processor. Pulse until pureed. Add olive oil, a pinch each salt and pepper and 1/2 Tsp red pepper flakes to puree. Pulse until well mixed and very smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired. Add remaining red pepper flakes if you want it a bit spicier. Scrape into small bowl and cover with a thin coating of olive oil.  Set aside.


(serves 8)

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
2 yellow bell peppers, cored, seeded and cut into 2 inch pieces
1/2 white or yellow onion, chopped
sea salt
black pepper
1 lb whole wheat pasta (any tubular shape you like...mostaccioli, penne, ziti...whatever you like)
1 large tomato, cut into 1 inch pieces
Parmigiano-Reggiano, shredded, for serving

Heat a large skillet until hot. Add the olive oil and the cauliflower and bell peppers. Allow to cook, without stirring, for 5-7 minutes or until charred in spots and heated through. Using tongs, turn vegetables and cook on the other side an additional 5 minutes until charred. (You want very deep brown color but do not let burn). Stir in onions and 1/2 Tsp each salt and pepper. Cook an additional 2 minutes. Turn off heat and set aside.

Cook pasta according to package directions ensuring water is well salted. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water. Add pasta to skillet with cauliflower over medium heat. Stir in 1/2 cup pesto and 1/4 cup pasta water. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired. Add additional pesto and pasta water if pasta is too dry. Stir in tomato and serve with additional olive oil and cheese drizzled over top. Enjoy!

    It is "Cauliflower" week at Food Network's Fall Fest
    roundup. Check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends. Do you have a favorite cauliflower recipe? Please share in the comments section and/or link to your blog if you have one. 

    The Lemon Bowl: Slow Cooker Indian Butter Chicken with Cauliflower 
    Feed Me Phoebe: Vegan Cauliflower Soup with Red Curry
    Jeanette's Healthy Living: Hash Brown Cauliflower and Potatoes 
    The Cultural Dish: Cauliflower and Leek Soup 
    Dishing with Divya: Gobi Manchurian
    Napa Farmhouse 1885: Smokey Cauliflower Soup with Parmigiano-Reggiano
    Red or Green: Cauliflower and Peppers Pasta with Spicy Pesto
    Swing Eats: Cauliflower T-Bone Steaks with Olive, Lemon and Parsley
    Dishin & Dishes: Curried Cauliflower Chowder
    Domesticate Me: Three Cheese Cauliflower Gratin
    Weelicious: Vegetarian Tagine
    Devour: 5 Reasons to Make Cauliflower Immediately
    Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Cauliflower Breadsticks
    Taste With The Eyes: Spiced Roasted Cauliflower with Walnut, Cilantro, Mint
    FN Dish: Reasons to Reconsider Cauliflower (recipes)


    Follow Me on Pinterest
    I have started sharing my "California Girl in Taos blog"  Please visit and let me know what you think.

    No comments:

    Post a Comment