Thursday Night Nicoise Salad

Thursday Night Nicoise Salad
Allow all of your salad stars to shine on their own. Dress each component of your salad individually and pile onto a platter. Simple food is just so darn pretty. Make something like this whatever you have on hand!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Cauliflower & Tomato Soup with Pasta

Capturing the spirit of "la cucina Italiana", or more accurately, cucina di povera, the cooking of the poor, this dish will make you feel happy to be home whether you can afford to go out for truffles and foie gras or not! Amelia always says there's elegance in simplicity. I think that applies to food also. Few ingredients. A lot of flavor. This is one of those combinations that you're going to think is NOT good, but it's GREAT! Like this one time (....at band camp, lol) when I was making a classic Tuscan style salad of celery, portabella mushrooms, Parmesan, olive oil and lemon juice, my sis-in-law, KPK cohort member and videographer, Norma, gave me that "not-so-sure-ick" look like it was going to suck. It is, of course, now, her favorite salad. See how this works? So, grab a head of cauliflower and get your peasant on. Let's make minestra di cavolfiore. If you have an iPad, make sure you download Mario Batali's app (which is the source of the original recipe where I watched him make this soup). He has some really straight-up, simplistic Italian classics in nice short video presentations. Great inspiration and instruction. I modified this recipe (I didn't realize it until I re-reviewed it - for example, I use more sauce and water/broth and a lot less garlic). You can definitely adjust the quantities and it will be good no matter what. Make it your own. You'll cook it and eat it again and again. I can't explain it. You just will. Right, Tom?

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) . . . . .

Love, Katie

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)

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting this...my Mom makes this all the time but to try and get a recipe out of her is harder than pulling teeth, lol. She can tell me what's in it but no exact measurements. Thanks again, it was very yummy, I made it last night!

    ReplyDelete

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For more posts (articles), recipes, stories and pictures, you can scroll up (in the right column under "What You Missed") and click on 2008, 2009 2010, 2011, 2012 or 2013. As of June, 2013, there are are total of 139 posts in KPK. You can spend more time here when you know where to look, right?! Another way to enjoy my kitchen is to click on any items of interest in the section entitled "Passion Posts", also up above in the right column.

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