COMFORT FOOD: Cauliflower Pangratatto Spaghetti
Quite at home on the menu of a slightly upmarket Italian restaurant, this cauliflower spaghetti dish is a lovely meal to share with friends over a couple of bottles of good plonk. Cook it up in a big saucepan, place in the middle of the table with a crusty loaf and a light salad so everyone can dig in = happy days indeed.
You might think cauliflower an unlikely bedfellow for pasta, but it’s a delightful combination, particularly with the slightly charred breadcrumbs which add a welcome crunch. The feta and blue cheese are melted with a little of the starchy pasta water to create a wonderfully rich sauce that just coats the spaghetti so it’s not at all cloying. The little hint of lemon zest is essential – bringing the whole dish together and cutting through all the richness.
Prep time: 15 minutes
2 cloves garlic
Zest of half a lemon
75g cream cheese
60g blue cheese
Salt and black pepper
100ml pasta water
Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of salted boiling water as per packet instructions.
Meanwhile, in a frying pan heat a glug of olive oil over a medium-high heat. Roughly chop the cauliflower until you have pieces about 1cm thick. Fry in the olive oil until they begin to colour at which point add in the finely chopped garlic, lemon zest and breadcrumbs. Fry for a further 3-4 minutes until fragrant and golden. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Once the pasta is cooked to your liking, drain – remembering to reserve 100ml of the cooking water. Take the pan you cooked the spaghetti in and pour in the reserved pasta water and all the cheeses. Whisk over a medium heat until the cheese has completely melted and the sauce begins to bubble gently. Next, add the spaghetti back into the pot and stir until completely coated in the sauce. Season with plenty of black pepper.
Finally, heat the cauliflower and add it to the pasta. Serve immediately.
A little grating of nutmeg.
A drizzle of truffle oil if you’re cooking to impress.
A sprinkle of crushed walnuts for extra crunch.
This dish is perfect with a cold glass of Riesling.