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Gemelli with Cauliflower, Scallions & Green Olives

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Serves two generously.

Don't be afraid of the anchovies in this recipe. They melt right into the sauce and give it great flavor. Substitute broccoli for the cauliflower if you like. Toasted breadcrumbs add a crunchy finishing touch.

  • 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into large florets
  • 3 to 4 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 scallions, white parts finely chopped; greens cut into 1¼2-inch pieces
  • Generous pinch dried red pepper flakes
  • 6 to 8 anchovy fillets, chopped
  • 8 oz. dried gemelli, fusilli, or cavatappi
  • 1/2 cup fresh, slightly coarse breadcrumbs, toasted in a 400°F oven for 3 to 4 minutes until golden
  • 1/2 cup cracked green olives, pitted and coarsely chopped

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop the cauliflower into the boiling water and cook until the florets offer little resistance when pierced with the tip of a knife, 3 to 4 minutes. (Don't let the cauliflower become at all mushy.) With a slotted spoon or a skimmer, remove the cauliflower from the pot and drain it. Return the water to a boil for cooking the pasta. When the cauliflower is cool enough to handle, cut the florets into smaller pieces and set aside. In a large skillet, heat 2 Tbs. of the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and scallion whites and cook until fragrant but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the pepper flakes and anchovies, crushing them with a wooden spoon, and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat while you cook the pasta. Just before the pasta is done, return the skillet to medium-high heat and add the cauliflower and half of the breadcrumbs. Cook, tossing once or twice, until heated through. When the pasta is just tender, reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking water and then drain the pasta, leaving drops of water clinging to it. Add the pasta and 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water to the skillet, using more or less as needed. Stir in the olives and the scallion greens. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil to taste. Heat gently for a few minutes so that flavors meld. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve warm, passing the remaining breadcrumbs at the table.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on two servings; Calories (kcal): 760; Fat (g): 29; Fat Calories (kcal): 260; Saturated Fat (g): 4; Protein (g): 25; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 19; Carbohydrates (g): 101; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3; Sodium (mg): 1470; Cholesterol (mg): 10; Fiber (g): 9;

Photo: Scott Phillips

I had bunch of cauliflower, not my fav food, from my CSA box. This recipe is INCREDIBLE!!! You will never know you are eating cauliflower. Changes I made: I used a good 1/4 teaspoon of chile flakes and even could have used a bit more; I used pimiento stuffed manzanilla olives from the jar; and really, folks, half the cauliflower was not enough, I should have used the whole thing. Oh, I also used at least four cloves of garlic. I think using gemelli or fusilli is important to this recipe. What about other people out there??? How come no one else has tried this recipe?? I tell you, it is great!!!

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