Roasted Purple Cauliflower & Brussels Sprouts with Lemon and Pasta

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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Hey!  Pardon my shamelessness, but I wrote a fucking funny book!  It was a lot of work.  I am excited.  It is huge!  In that – it is literally huge.  It weighs 1.5 pounds.  C’mon!  That is a pound and a half of pure & shamelessly raunchy COMEDY!  Why not buy a copy?  The paperback is under ten dollars & the iBook, Kindle & Nook versions are only $3.99.  Seriously.  Read it!  I promise that both men & women will declare it is the funniest book ever written!  Yes.  Funniest. Prove me wrong.  Read the reviews on Amazon.  Read the first couple of pages!  But know that the dirty stuff kicks in after page 100.  Buy it HERE!

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OK – now food!  This recipe is simple but it requires that you be bold with the few ingredients.  Salt & parsley often get written off as insignificant but they are not.  Remember when salt was the villain of the day & we were all warned to swear off of it?  In the eighties?  Well – I swore off of it.  In that period, I shared a staple mushroom pasta recipe with an old friend.  A year or so later, my then boyfriend tried her version & was SO EXCITED by it – he made me promise to get her recipe.  Well, in fact, it was MY recipe – she was just a bit more liberal with the salt – in that she used some.

Salt has since been let off the hook as an evil culinary pleasure as we face far more significant dangers like GMOs and, really, anything processed.  But that was a great lesson for me & I took it to heart.  I am still not one to heavily salt things but I have discovered that a bit of salt can truly bring other flavors out in a dish that, before the addition of salt, had been hiding from my taste buds.

This dish will require that you use salt – maybe more than you are accustomed to.  It will require the use of Parmesan & olive oil & lemon zest.  The precise amount of each of these ingredients will be hard for me to outline for you because I will not, for example, know if you are using a bland processed Parmesan or a delightfully salty, higher quality, freshly grated cheese.  Olive oils vary enormously.  Some are just yucky oil.  Others are fruity & sweet.  Even lemons vary in their power.  So – while this is a relatively simple recipe, it will require your confidence to experiment with the quantity of each ingredient – until you achieve a flavor that excites you.

Most recipes with only a few ingredients benefit enormously when the ingredients are as high quality & as fresh as possible.  In my case, the Parmesan was grated fresh from this huge block that has the most amazing crystal-like texture when eaten in chunks.

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My lemon was from a tree in my yard.

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But the parsley & olive oil were bullshit, standard supermarket varieties.  As was my pasta.  This dish would be perfect for a handmade pasta – as the flavors are so clean & simple.

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My purple cauliflower & Brussels sprouts were also supermarket finds and both had the misfortune of sitting in my fridge for weeks before I finally used them but they seemed to rally nicely – both in color & flavor.

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I used purple cauliflower because, fuck, I have a food blog.  I am trying to mix it up.  But 1) I paid about $7.50 for a tiny head of it and 2) purple is a very difficult color to pull off in food.  Google purple cauliflower recipes.  HERE, look!  Sorry, but those purple soups are mostly revolting.  So – use regular cauliflower if you want to.

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Roasted Purple Cauliflower & Brussels Sprouts with Lemon and Pasta

Feeds 2 very well

INGREDIENTS

1/2 lb pasta

Purple (or other) cauliflower – about 2 cups of cut florets

10+ Brussels sprouts – ends trimmed & halved

4 garlic cloves – roughly chopped

Olive oil

Lemon zest – 1-2 TBS or to taste

Grated Parmesan – 1/4 cup (or to taste)

Chopped parsley

S&P to taste

Garnish: more Parmesan, lemon zest, S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Prepare the cauliflower florets & Brussels sprouts.  Toss them with 2-3 TBS olive oil & the chopped garlic.

Put on a cooking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil (for easier clean up) and roast for 25-30 minutes.

Cook the pasta according to directions.

Heat a saute pan over medium heat & add the roasted vegetables.  The vegetables should have enough residual olive oil on them without greasing the pan but add more olive oil if you think it needs it.  Add more chopped garlic, if you desire.  Add the lemon zest & keep warm while the pasta cooks.  When the pasta is ready, set aside about 1/2 cup of the pasta water & drain the pasta & add the pasta to the pan with the vegetables.

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Toss the pasta & vegetables.  Add the cheese – perhaps even more than I suggested.  Use some of the reserved pasta water to aid in combination of the ingredients & to create a very light creaminess.  Add SALT & PEPPER.  Seriously.  Add salt.  Add pepper.  Taste.  Add more salt or pepper or lemon zest or cheese.  Don’t stop experimenting with flavors until you get it right.

Serve with a drizzle of olive oil & some chopped parsley.  Maybe even add more cheese and S&P.  Fuck it!  Who’s watching?  Mmmmmm!

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