Recently The Kitchn posted 8 Indulgent Vegan Pasta Dishes. Hooray, right? Who doesn’t love a nice bowl of comforting pasta? Especially now, as we are all gearing up for healthy resolutions & New Year’s cleanses!
I was a little disappointed when I clicked on the first recipe, only to find that it was, in fact, not vegan…unless there is a vegan substitute for Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano that I did not know about. I didn’t fret for long, as this was a minor oversight that could be easily adjusted to make this a truly “vegan pasta dish.” Ix ne cheese, insert nooch. “Nooch:” veg-speak for nutritional yeast. The silly moniker is growing on me…
Instead of the more commonly known, tastes like musky gym socks white cauliflower, I jazzed this up with it’s more fashionable (& flavorful) cousin, Romanesco.
I get so excited when Romanesco cauliflower is in season & I buy it by the bucket full. I love it simply roasted with sea salt, pepper & a squeeze of lemon, or sautéed with garlic, shallots, & pine nuts. I picked some up from Suzie’s Farm & decided to use it here, with a few stalks of left over white cauliflower thrown in…
The original recipe called for browning the cauliflower in 1/2 cup of olive oil. Holy moly that’s a lot of oil, so I lightened it up by sautéing mine in a few tablespoons & it worked just fine. I absolutely love the base of the sauce in this recipe – green olives & parsley. Yum. So simple, but so full of flavor…
The recipe called for pitted green olives in brine, stuffed or unstuffed. To be honest, I used a jar of pimento stuffed martini olives that came in a gift basket my dad gave me. Vibrantly colorful, with richness from the olives, & freshness from the parsley.
Linguine with Romanesco Cauliflower, Green Olives & Almonds
- 1 cup pimento stuffed green olives
- ½ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 head Romanesco cauliflower, cut into 1-inch-wide florets
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes
- ¼ cup water
- ½ lb dried whole wheat linguine
- ⅓cup nutritional yeast
- ½ cup whole almonds with skin, toasted & coarsely chopped
- Pulse olives & parsley in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Transfer to a bowl.
- Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat. Cook cauliflower with salt, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic & red-pepper flakes & cook, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is tender and garlic is golden, about 3 minutes.
- Stir in water & boil 1 minute. Add olive mixture & cook, stirring, until heated through, about 2 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook pasta in a pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta-cooking water. Drain in a colander & return to pot.
- Add cauliflower mixture & toss well, then add nutritional yeast & toss again. If pasta is dry, moisten with some reserved cooking water.
- Sprinkle pasta with almonds & serve immediately.
Such a wonderfully delicious dish of pasta! The delicate cauliflower with balanced beautifully with the rich “sauce” & the sprinkle of almonds gave a subtle nuttiness & crunch. I highly recommend you give it a try.