A sensible person evaluates a situation and chooses a path of action that is compatible with it. For example: a sensible food blogger whose kitchen is undergoing renovation would take a break from The Secret Recipe Club to be back once she actually has a place to cook. I did consider that option for a while, say… 5 seconds. ;-) So, throwing caution to the wind, here I am to join once more the virtual party in which bloggers are paired in secret to cook recipes from their matched blog.
Last month was my 2nd anniversary with SRC, so this post opens my third year with the group. And what could be better for an “old-timer” than to be paired with a new member? I was assigned Vintage Kitchen Notes, hosted by the beautiful Paula, who just joined SRC. She cooks and blogs from Argentina, right next door to my home country. Paula blogs in English, but she also keeps another blog in Spanish – talk about blogging stamina! I actually tried to include recipes in Portuguese for a while, but quickly realized it was too much of a struggle for me. So, I am in awe that Paula can do it all! Her photography is beautiful, I had a wonderful time browsing her site. Let me share a few of her concoctions that were particularly tempting to me: 8-Hour Cheesecake with Roasted Grapes, Limoncello-Glazed Citrus Poppy Seed Cake, Chocolate-Hazelnut Mini-Bundt Cakes (gorgeous!), Pastel Azteca (gotta make that sometime), Roasted Radicchio and Provolone Risotto (go drool over the photo, will you?), and just to tempt my bread baking addiction, she has more than 40 different bread recipes listed on her index. I will just mention one: Soft Pretzels with Spicy Beer Cheese Sauce. I’ve always wanted to make soft pretzels at home, but that will have to wait for calmer days.
Since our kitchen looks like a war zone. I ended up choosing a very intriguing recipe that required only the food processor and one pan to cook the pasta. Seemed doable under the circumstances. So, I am delighted to share with you my first experience with a cauliflower pesto!
1 pound (450g) fresh cauliflower
1 medium shallot, quartered
pinch of red pepper flakes
½ cup toasted almonds
2 oz. (60g) Asiago cheese
4 sun-dried tomatoes, dried-packed
1 Tbs drained capers
2 Tbs chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup olive oil (I used 1/4 cup)
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar (I added 2 tsp)
1 pound linguine
Cover the sun-dried tomatoes with boiling water in a small bowl and let them stand for 5 to 10 minutes to soften. Drain well and chop them coarsely. Rinse the cauliflower, cut off the leaves and hard stalks. Cut the rest into chunks, and add to a food processor, processing them until they are more or less the texture of couscous. Transfer to a large bowl and reserve while you prepare the other ingredients.
Add to the food processor the pieces of shallot, pepper flakes, almonds, cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, capers and parsley. Process until they´re as fine as the cauliflower. Season with salt and pepper. Add oil and vinegar and pulse until a paste forms. If you feel it´s too dry for your taste, add another tablespoon of olive oil.
Transfer to the bowl with the cauliflower, check the mixture for salt and pepper and add more if necessary.
Cook the linguini until al dente in plenty of salted boiling water. Reserve some of the cooking liquid, and drain the pasta, transferring to a serving bowl. Add some of the pesto and mix gently. If necessary, add some of the reserved cooking liquid. Add the remaining pesto, sprinkle with grated cheese, a few parsley leaves and serve immediately.
to print the recipe, click here
Comments: You might remember that Phil is not too wild about cauliflower, so I was hoping to prepare the pesto while he was doing something outside, maybe playing golf or trimming tree branches. My plan almost worked but not quite. I had cleaned all the “remains” of the cauliflower from the crime scene, but he caught a glimpse of the processed cauliflower,
What is this? some exotic type of rice?
This? No, not rice.
(quickly moving the bowl away from view)
No, not really…
What IS it?
I cannot quite tell you. It’s a surprise. It’s going to be a pesto.. A surprise pesto..
Pesto? Great, I love pesto!
;-) ;-) ;-) ;-)
Verdict: Two very enthusiastic thumbs up for this pasta! I can understand why Paula made this dish twice in the same week. One could imagine the raw cauliflower to be too sharp and omnipresent in the pesto, but it’s not. It is just a perfectly balanced dish, with the capers, the vinegar, the sun-dried tomatoes, the parsley, a real winner. I divulged the “secret ingredient” of the Secret Recipe Club concoction to Phil, and he was amazed. The heat of the pasta slightly changes the texture of the cauliflower, taming its raw taste. I highly recommend you try this recipe. If you use the reduced amount of oil I did, make sure to save some of the pasta cooking liquid to adjust the consistency at the end. If it still seems too thick, swirl a little olive oil right at the table.
Paula, it was great to get your blog this month, I hope you had fun stalking and cooking from your assigned site!
For a delicious collection of tasty dishes prepared by my friends from Group D of SRC, click on the blue frog at the end of the post…
ONE YEAR AGO: Carriage House Apple-Walnut Pie
TWO YEARS AGO: Chicken Marsala
THREE YEARS AGO: Home, sweet home
FOUR YEARS AGO: Levain Bread with Caramelized Onions