Sunday, September 25, 2005

Finally, I used that damn cauliflower

Pasta with Cauliflower and Cheddar
Prevention’s Ultimate Quick and Healthy Cookbook Copyright 1998

8 ounces whole-wheat linguine I used rotini and macaroni because that's what I had on hand
3 cups small cauliflower florets
1 ½ cups 1% low-fat milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
½ teaspoon dry mustard
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
¼ teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
¼ cup thinly sliced scallion greens

1. Bring a large covered pot of water to boil over high heat. Add the pasta; return to a boil and cook for 9 to 11 minutes, or according to package directions. Four minutes before the pasta is done, stir in the cauliflower and cook until the cauliflower is tender and the pasta is al dente. Reserving ½ cup of the cooking liquid, drain the pasta and cauliflower in a colander.
2. While the pasta is cooking, in a heavy medium saucepan, whisk together the milk, cornstarch, mustard, pepper, thyme, hot pepper sauce and salt until smooth. Place the pan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute, or until the sauce is quite thick; remove the pan from the heat.
3. Transfer the pasta and cauliflower to a warmed serving bowl; add the reserved pasta cooking liquid and toss to mix well.
4. Add the cheddar and parmesan to the sauce and whisk until smooth. Pour the sauce over the pasta and cauliflower and toss to mix. Sprinkle with scallions.

I made this to take for lunch this week. I had cauliflower that I've been meaning to cook for quite some time but there aren't many exciting cauliflower recipes out there. I finally used it for something and there is still probably at least half of it left.

I would have prefered the taste of regular pasta (or perhaps a pasta with some color would be nice against the cauliflower- veggie or spinach pasta) but whole wheat pasta is healthier and sometimes you have to make sacrifices. I always hope that in a dish like this, the more decadent ingredients (in this case, the cheese) will overpower the healthy ingredients (in this case, the whole wheat pasta) but that doesn't always happen. Besides the whole wheat pasta, which just something that will never be as good as regular pasta to my tastebuds, this turned out to be a nice dish. This recipe begs to be played with - just think of the other pastas and veggies you could substitute here. The possibilities are endless.

I took this picture next to the picture of this recipe from the cookbook. I didn't use fettucine, nor were my cauliflower florets that small. My end product looked very different. This cookbook obviously included a photograph of every recipe because otherwise who in there right mind would choose to photograph cauliflower and whole wheat pasta in a white cheese sauce?

This cookbook, Prevention's Ultimate Quick & Healthy Cookbook, is nice, visually, since it has a photo of every recipe. But it seems that every recipes calls for two or more ingredients that I don't keep on hand. These are light recipes, meaning emphasis was on healthiness first, taste is further down the line. There is only so much trouble I'll go through for light and healthy.

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