Saturday, January 23, 2010

An Adventure in Rome...

OK, maybe not. Who can afford airfare these days? And what to do with the kids, give them to a relative or sherpa them around?  Hmm... no, we'll stick to Italian style family meals in our very own home. Maybe for ambience we'll string up some vines and paint a mural on our ceiling.

Romanesco Cauliflower  & Fresh Pasta 

  • One head of Romanesco Cauliflower also called Romanesco Broccoli
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp anchovy paste
  • 3 tbsp olive oil plus some for drizzling*
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup grated pecorino cheese plus more for garnish**
  • chili flakes (optional)
  • flat leaf parsley for garnish
  • lemon wedges

For fresh pasta- Recipe from Mark Bittman's 'How to Cook Everything'
Use only half of the yield for this dish.
  • 2 cups organic un-bleached flour (I used one cup white & 1 cup whole wheat from a local grain CSA)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 lg eggs, 3 egg yolk
  • water if needed
I'm cooking for kids so speed is essential. I have tried to make pasta dough on the counter with a well in the centre of my flour for the eggs and never had much success with it.  I am sure it is touch and practice and one day when I have time I may try it again but for now I will stick to the food processor.

Put flour and salt in a food processor, pulse a couple times to combine. Add eggs and yokes, pulse for an additional 30 secs or until a ball forms. If it is dry add some water slowly, if wet add a bit more flour, a tiny bit at a time.

Wrap in plastic and rest for 30 minutes in the fridge or longer. Can stay there for up to 24 hrs. Then process dough with a pasta machine. Unlike an Italian grandmother I have never been able to roll it out and form little shapes. I use a Kitchen Aid to form sheets then roll it up to cut long strands.

For Sauce:

Cut cauliflower into florets, parboil for 2 mins in a large pot of water (big enough to cook pasta), drain and shock them in cold water. Reserve. Meanwhile keep water at a boil and cook pasta.

In a large fry pan heat olive oil on medium heat. Cook garlic, anchovy paste and chili flakes if using, until you can smell the paste and the garlic is soft, roughly a minute.  Add the cauliflower florets cook for a few minutes more. When pasta is done add the noodles to pan, the cheese and drizzle with enough olive oil so that the noodles do not stick to the pan. Toss mixture and check seasoning.

At the table either just before serving or on individual plates, grate more cheese over top noodles, drizzle with more olive oil and garnish with parsley, fresh pepper and lemon wedge.

*I have a cooking olive oil and a higher quality one for drizzling at the table.
**We use  a microplane grater for our cheese so it is very light.

photos by Jeff.


  1. Hi, this recipe looks wonderfully nutrituous, and well done for raising your kids so well to actually eat a dish with 'green stuff' in it!

    I recently added a couple of my own kid-friendly cannelloni recipes (have them stuff the tubes with teaspoons... great fun!) in case that's of interest (see my name link).

    Great blog and superb pictures... I wish my foodie shots came out half this good.


  2. so glad to have a great cook admit that sometimes it's OK to use the processor. and i agree about the pictures. the little people you use as models are fantastic!

  3. My husband will be so pleased about his photos... Up until now we have been taking our photos during the day with natural light to get the even white balance. We have found that our night shots have been too cold and harsh with a flash and or too yellow without one... We have rented an indirect flash to experiment and are happier with our evening efforts. Still a lot to learn!

    The Kitchen Aid and Cuisinart do their fair share of the work in my house. Though when I have time, I love doing things by hand. I am an artist and potter by training and a maker of things by heart.

  4. I love fresh pasta - and the sauce is lovely - I love that Romanesco broccoli/cauliflower!

  5. It's definitely cheaper bringing Italy to the kitchen table. :)



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