Cauliflower & Tomato Soup with Pasta
~ Minestra di Cavolfiore ~
about 4 tablespoons of olive oil
1 head of cauliflower, separated into large florets, (cut up and use as much as possible without the fibrous base)
1 large onion - red or sweet or whatever you have on hand, cut in large dice or sliced
a few bay leaves (3)
1 or 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 large can of tomato sauce (28 oz.) (I use Dei Fratelli Tomato Sauce - you can use your favorite prepared sauce)
about 7 cups of water or chicken broth (2 tomato cans full) : )
red pepper flakes to taste
about 6 oz. of your favorite pasta*
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Add the cauliflower, onion and bay leaves. Season with a little salt and cook over medium high heat until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Add the garlic and cook a bit more. Add the tomato sauce and rinse out the can with water or broth twice (2 cans = about 7 cups of liquid). Add some red pepper flakes and some freshly ground black pepper. Stir. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer for about 25-30 minutes. At this point, the soup still won't seem terribly interesting. But now, check the seasoning and adjust if needed. If you're using water, you'll most likely need a little more kosher salt. Then, add the pasta and cook at a low boil until the pasta reaches desired doneness. This should be the same amount of time that is shown on the package directions. As it boils, the soup will become thick and wonderful from the pasta starch...Transformation occurs. OOOoooohhhhh.... Deliciousness. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Bread and butter. Salad. That's all. I feel like making another pot right now.
*Pasta note: If you use a rustic thick and starchy pasta, you will have a thick and hearty soup. You can also use little shells or macaroni elbows or mezzi rigatoni. Sky's the limit here. I love Conte brand Fusilli del Contadino. It's one of those 100% durum wheat semolina pastas which just happens to be from Calabria. I just grab a big handful or two and break them in half so the soup is a little easier to eat. Just the right amount of slurp. Mmmmmm.....
If you're pretty well stocked, you'll just have to run out and buy one head of cauliflower. Whatrya' waitin' for? Go now! Click HERE for the printable version of the recipe (for Sharon M & other printers) . . . . .
Katie's Passione Cucina di Povera (hey, I just quit my day job, so there will probably be a lot more of these recipes for awhile, lol)