Monday, December 3, 2012

Cauliflower Pasta (For Ev, Part II)

Last week I had apple pear hand pies for my friend Ev. If you missed it, she's currently in the Peace Corps in Armenia and she asked me to prepare a meal and dessert she could make using available ingredients. The list is somewhat limited compared to what we have here which made it kind of challenging.

The dessert was easy. Fruit, butter, flour, done. But I'm a huge meat-eater, so doing an actual vegetarian meal was quite interesting. I obviously wanted to do something she could replicate over there, that was full of veggies, (health nut that I am!) and hopefully wouldn't be too expensive.

This is a simple pasta that comes together pretty quickly and relies on pantry staples. Plus, it should withstand Ev's lack of refrigeration! I simplified the recipe a little since I'm pretty sure saffron would be astronomical there, if able to be found at all. Heck, I don't even buy the stuff.

I've listed a few ingredients as optional in cause they aren't readily available in Armenia. I took a chance on lemons with the hand pies and got lucky...Phew.

For any of you trying to sneak more vegetables into your kids, this is a great way to do it. You can mash the cauliflower as fine as you need to disguise it. Thankfully my girl eats cauliflower just fine. For now.

Cauliflower Pasta
Adapted from this recipe
Makes 4 large servings

1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
3 tablespoons butter
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Pinch of red pepper flakes, optional
1/3 cup golden raisins
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 bay leaves, optional
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 pound small pasta (I used brown rice fusilli)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped hazelnuts, optional
2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped, plus more for garnish

Place the cauliflower in a large pot with a steamer and a small amount of water in the bottom. Cover and steam for about 8 minutes. If you don't have a steamer, fill the pot about halfway with water, bring to a boil, and boil until cauliflower is soft. Remove from water and drain, reserving the water for cooking pasta and thinning the sauce.

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat and cook onion, stirring occasionally until soft.

Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, cooking about 30 seconds.

Stir in the cauliflower, mashing the florets with a fork or spoon until there are few or no chunks.

Add in the raisins, tomato paste bay leaves, salt and pepper, and about 1/2 cup cauliflower water or fresh water. Allow to cook for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and add to the cauliflower along with the lemon juice and parsley. Remove the bay leaves.

Garnish with hazelnuts and additional parsley if desired.


I'm linking up this recipe at Mostly Homemade Mondays.


  1. I love it! I was just walking past the cauliflower yesterday, thinking I should buy some and cook with it! And you came up with the perfect recipe. Thank you! Now, as per usual in Armenia, I have to wait, though, because the gas cylinder I use to cook with is empty. I went in a taxi, with two young helpers to get it refilled today, and when we got to the place, we were told, "There is no gas." THERE IS NO GAS! Can you believe it?? There's another place a little farther away, but they don't have gas, either. They said to come back in 2 days. So later this week, when I finally get gas again, I will try this recipe. P.S. My electricity is also almost on the fritz, so until I get my new, stronger electrical lines, I also can't try the dessert part of the recipe, because I don't dare turn on my electric oven (especially when I have a light on, or something else plugged in, like my heater or computer). Such is life in Peace Corps Armenia. I'll be sure to let you know how everything turns out when things are back to "normal" around here.

    1. Good! I'm glad I read your mind! It's really simple, but probably quite different than what you've been eating, so I hope you like it.

      Honestly. No gas?! I can't imagine...

      I hope everything get back up to par and you enjoy your meal by candlelight or something!

      Thanks again for challenging me. I had tons of fun!

  2. o wow, and I don't have a fridge :) it looks amazing and I love cauliflower.

    1. No fridge for you either?! Crazy.

      I'm not a huge fan of raw cauliflower myself, but I adore it roasted and how I used it here.

  3. Loretta, i think you did quite well for a meatless meal! this pasta looks incredible - i love all the veggies and how easy it is to prepare!

    1. Thanks Sally. It was difficult to come up with something that fit the bill. It's crazy how easy we have it here!

  4. I'm saving this one for a good meatless day. Thanks!

  5. This looks super interesting. Plus the fact of no meat,saves a little money if a person does this kind supper once a week even!tmj

    1. Yeah, it's pretty basic and really cheap, which I know is right up your alley! Can't wait to see you in a few days!

  6. Love the idea of cauliflower pasta! The colors are wonderful!

    1. Thank you Julia. It's a super easy way to get some cauliflower in...

  7. A scrumptious combination! I really love cauliflower.



  8. I finally did it! I finally made this cauliflower pasta! Better late than never, right? Loretta, you can see my response to your recipe challenge here: Thanks! - Ev

    1. Haha! Now that you have no restrictions as far as available groceries! I still am always blown away by what you "put up" with over there. I say "put up" with because it had to have been quite an adjustment!


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