Folks who don't care for cooked cauliflower should keep reading; here, the vegetable is reduced to a couscous-like consistency, raw, in the food processor. A handful of piquant add-ins and a bit of olive oil create a crumbly pesto that's as good with pasta as it is atop crostini.
The recipe comes from New York food blogger Deb Perelman's cookbook, based on her blog, SmittenKitchen.com.
We scaled it back to reduce the number of servings and upped the sherry vinegar. And we used Romanesco cauliflower, which gave the mixture a bit more color and crunch. Serve with a salad of bitter greens.
Linguini with cauliflower pesto
•6 to 8 ounces dried linguini
•13-ounces raw cauliflower
•1/2 cup almonds or pine nuts
•2 to 3 sun-dried tomatoes
•1-ounce pecorino Romano
•1 medium clove garlic
•1 tablespoon capers
•8 flat-leaf parsley leaves
•Pinch crushed red pepper
•3 tablespoons olive oil
•2 1/2 teaspoons sherry
•vinegar, to taste
Boil a large pot of water. Add a pinch of salt, then the linguini (2 ounces per serving). Cook, drain and keep warm, reserving 1 cup of water.
Cut the cauliflower, placing chunks in the food processor as you work. Pulse to form couscous-like crumbs and transfer to mixing bowl.
Toast the almonds in a dry skillet over medium-low heat until fragrant and lightly browned. Shake to avoid scorching.
Chop the sun-dried tomatoes, cheese and add with nuts,
garlic, capers and parsley to food processor.
Pulse everything to a bread-crumb consistency, then add to cauliflower and crushed red pepper flakes in the bowl.
Stir in the oil, 2 teaspoons of vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to form a pesto-like mixture.
Add the pasta and toss to coat evenly, then add reserved pasta water as needed, adjusting the seasoning to taste. Add vinegar as needed.
Servings: 3 to 4