Life in a Northern Town

A Monochromatic Dinner For Another Snowy Night

Instead of 'space, the final frontier' from Star Trek, it was 'pasta, the final frontier' in my kitchen last week. My final frontier list has been greatly reduced in the past year (I've been busy in the kitchen). I've checked off naan, mu shu pork, pie crust, Italian sausage and now, homemade pasta. Since the dough is relatively easy to work with (nothing like pie crust dough or as I call it, a crumbly mess) and I had the attachments for my mixer— I was ready to take off into one more culinary final frontier. My pasta Captain Kirk was David Lebovitz, a blogger I follow in Paris. His recipes are thoroughly tested and haven't failed me yet (pasta recipe here). I added about 3 or 4 tbsp. of water because the dough seemed dry. I used large eggs, like the recipe stated, but I think the addition of the water was necessary or it would have been impossible to roll out. The resting period is very important, give the dough the full one hour resting time— it will be easier to work with.

Another 6 - 12 inches of snow is on it's way tomorrow night and Thursday. I can't believe the sheer volume of snow we've received this winter but it's melting fast (there's nothing like a warm April sun, except maybe a hot July sun) and the mud is already making appearances here and there. But it's still 50 million shades of white outside and this pasta dish is an homage to the monochromatic world of winter and spring in Northern Wisconsin. I had two heads of roasted garlic, a head of cauliflower, Sassy Nanny chevre and some oil cured olives waiting for a flash of inspiration to propel them to dinner greatness. My flash came from another blogger I follow in Italy, Rachel Eats. She had a post about making pasta with a recipe for a simple cauliflower and olive oil 'sauce'. I cooked the cauliflower, gathered my other ingredients, boiled the pasta and a monochromatic dinner was born.

Homemade Pasta with Cauliflower, Chevre and Roasted Garlic (Adapted from Rachel Eats)

Ingredients
Homemade pasta (David Lebovitz)
1 head of cauliflower
1/2 to 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (depending on how creamy you want the sauce)
3/4 cup Sassy Nanny chevre
2 heads of roasted garlic, cloves removed
2 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
/2 cup olive cured olives, pits removed and chopped
1 -2 tbsp good balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt and pepper

Preparation
Break the cauliflower into large florets. Bring a large pan of well salted water to boil and cook the florets for about 1o minutes or until they are soft and very tender.

Use a slotted spoon to lift the cauliflower out of the pan and into a colander to drain. In a sauté pan warm the oil and then sauté the garlic until it's fragrant. Do not let it burn. Remove the garlic and then add the cauliflower, olives and herbs. Stir well so both are coated with oil and gently mash the cauliflower with the back of the wooden spoon until you have a soft, creamy mixture. Add more oil if necessary. Add the chevre and stir to combine. Taste for salt and pepper and remove from the heat.

Cook the pasta in the cauliflower water until al dente which will only take a few minutes. Drain the pasta – reserving some cooking water – and add it to the pan. Stir. Add a little cooking water to loosen and emulsify the dish if necessary. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and serve immediately.