Sunday, January 30, 2011

Good things with garlic!

In the early nineties there was an Italian chef on PBS who introduced me to this favorite of braised cauliflower which is eventually roasted with tortellini.  It is super easy to make, really tasty, and perfect for a cold winter night.  For a vegetarian version, eliminate the anchovy and instead use a splash of soy sauce.

The perfect addition to this cauliflower and tortellini bake, garlic chips are buttery and sweet, and make for great bursts of flavor.  Saute thinly sliced pieces in olive oil over medium heat until just golden (go too far and you'll wind up with bitter chips), remove from heat and set on paper toweling while cooking rest of dish....
Saute thick slices of cauliflower in olive oil, red chili flakes and anchovies (which completely break down and lend a superb, intense layer of flavor) until seared and golden on each side.  It took one large head of cauliflower cooked in two batches to get what you see above.

Al dente tortellini (Vermont Putney Pasta Co. ~115 miles) and a bit of their cooking water (~1 cup) were added to the cauliflower, along with chopped basil, grated parm or romano cheese, and the garlic chips.  You don't need to mix it all together; just layer as you go, making sure the thicker pieces of cauli are tucked down into the added cooking water.  Spread an even coat of fresh bread crumbs mixed (~1 cup) with melted butter or more grated cheese all over the top and bake for 15 minutes at 375.

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