Posted in Pasta, Recipes

Pasta chi Vruocculi Arriminati aka Pasta in Cauliflower Sauce!

I am not as big a fan of cauliflower as I am of the Harry Potter Rowling. Or House of Cards. Or…. I can go on, but that is not the point. The point is, it is one of the things that I cook because I got to cook. My mom told me it is good for me, and that is that. I do not enjoy it one bit. I have tried quite a few things before I accepted that Cauliflower and I are not meant to be BFFs. Until I stumbled upon this thing called Pasta chi Vruocculi Arriminati in the cookbook called Long Weekends by Rick Stein. Nestled in the segment on Palermo, this beauty has probably started the first sparks which might kindle our friendship. Of course, I made it promptly, I am a good girl, ain’t I? I mean, cauliflower disguised as a bechamel kind of sauce in which spaghetti is tossed, might not really sound exotic, but oh boy, it was yum! It was creamy, mildly sweet and most importantly, didn’t taste like Cauliflower! Bingo! ❤

Titled “Pasta Chi Vruocculi Arriminati aka Sicilian Pasta with Cauliflower, Anchovies, Currants and Pine Nut”, the recipe contains tinned anchovy fillets, which I proceeded to promptly exclude. But, if you wish, you could use them here, because hey, never say no to some proteins if you can! Now, the curious cat that I am, I did a bit of Google search and stumbled up this page here, which turned out of a treasure chest of information on the dish. Do read up, if you are as curious as I was then, or simply get going and make some yourself.

Spaghetti chi Vruocculi Arriminati ( Spaghetti mixed with Broccoli , although all the versions I have come across use Cauliflower 🤔) from Rick Stein's book Long Weekends, is our Saturday Brunch! The recipe is from the Palermo segment of the book and surprisingly has no dairy products at all. I was stoked ever since I read the recipe in the book and finally tried it today. I have a mostly hate relationship with cauliflower, so while I was wary, I was immensely curious about how would a cauliflower sauce taste like. The sauce is made up of cooked and mashed cauliflower seasoned with a small onion, salt pepper, saffron and chilli flakes. The book version has no cheese no milk whatsoever, but uses saffron which in my Indian brain doesn't work unless I soak it in warm milk. So I took the liberty and used a few tablespoons of milk. In a juxtaposition of sorts, the recipe calls for topping the pasta with toasted bread crumbs, ( poor man's cheese apparently, so the Internet tells me ) but adds saffron to the sauce which is, let's admit it, a little pretentious an ingredient. I used basil and peeled almonds ( I didn't have pine nuts ) to top along with toasted bread crumbs l. But all in all, I heartily approve of the recipe and is probably one way I now like cauliflower! Buon Appetito, folks and have a Happy Weekend ! #weekendbrunch #rickstein #spaghetti #vruocculiarriminati #cauliflowerpasta

A post shared by Srujan Desai (@d.srujan) on

{ New Blog Post Alert } This Spaghetti in Broccoli Sauce / Spaghetti chi Vruocculi Arriminati from @rick_stein 's "Long Weekends" finally made it to the blog last night. The link to the recipe is in the profile now. I made this sauce twice in 2 months so I decided it needs to be documented. Since Cauliflower/Broccoli do not make it to the list of vegetables that I put into my veggie basket voluntarily, I have to make it a point to cook with them from time to time against my free will. I made this same sauce with Cauliflower the last time and I find that both of them work equally well. There is no cheese involved ( but no one is stopping you from adding some 😉) but 2 tbsp of bread crumbs do go in and on top, so it's no saint. Having said that, I loved it. The recipe is fuss free and involves using cooked and mashed cauliflower/broccoli to make a sauce in the same way as a bechamel sauce, oil, veggie mash instead of flour, some onion garlic and the vegetable stock /water instead of milk ( milk is good too). With 2 tbsp of bread crumbs to bind and thicken, it's ready to toss the cooked spaghetti in. Top with fresh basil, pine nuts ( you can use toasted and slivered almonds instead, like I did) ! It was yum, which is not a part of my vocabulary around cauliflower/broccoli. My Broccoli had unfortunately spent a few extra days in the vegetable section of the refrigerator and was not in its vibrant green form. It reflects in the color of the pasta sauce too! 😞 But anyway, I am going to call it a rescue mission successfully carried out. 😁 #vruocculiarriminati #cauliflowerpasta #rickstein #broccolipasta #weekendbrunch

A post shared by Srujan Desai (@d.srujan) on

Recipe: ( serves 2, adapted from Rick Stein’s Long Weekends )

Ingredients:

  • 250 gms of cauliflower florets / broccoli florets, cleaned and washed,
  • 2oo gms of uncooked Spaghetti, (OR 2 servings as indicated on the package),
  • 3 tbsp of olive oil,
  • 4 tbsp of breadcrumbs, Or more if needed,
  • 1 small onion, minced or very finely chopped,
  • 2 cloves of garlic, grated or minced,
  • chilli flakes, to taste,
  • a pinch of saffron soaked in warm milk (OPTIONAL),
  • ground pepper to taste,
  • salt to taste,
  • a small handful of fresh basil or parsley, finely chopped.
  • a few sliced almonds, lightly toasted (the original recipe uses pine nuts) for garnish,

Method:

  1. Cook the cauliflower in a small saucepan with sufficient water to cover all florets, for about 8-10 minutes or until the cauliflower is soft and mushy. Or you could also use a pressure cooker for the same like I did. Drain, but reserve the water, and mash the florets into s smooth mush.
  2. In a pan, lightly toast the breadcrumbs until crisp but not burnt or browned too much. Remove swiftly and set aside.
  3. Cook the pasta in plenty of salted water until almost done (al-dente), rinse in cold water, toss in a tbsp of oil and set aside.
  4. In a saucepan, heat the remaining 2 tbsp of oil and add the minced garlic and onion. Cook stirring intermittently until the onion is soft and golden. Add the chilli flakes, the mashed cauliflower, about 1/4 cup of cauliflower water to bring it to the consistency of a bechamel sauce.
  5. Continue cooking for another five minutes. Add the saffron flavoured milk and mix well.
  6. Add more cauliflower water or plain water if the sauce is too thick. Season with salt and pepper. Add half the breadcrumbs and mix well.
  7. Finally, add the pasta, mix well till the sauce coats the spaghetti well and turn the heat off.
  8. Divide into plates and serve garnished with remaining bread crumbs, nuts and basil/parsley. Done!
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