Pasta with cauliflower, onion and feta

I have a confession to make.  I don’t like walnuts.  I don’t know what it is about them, but I tend to avoid them when they are in food.  Now dot get me wrong, I don’t hate them, I would just prefer not to eat them.  I just came to this realization when I made this dish – just a week ago.  There must be something wrong with me.  Everyone loves walnuts!  Everyone except me I guess.

Its been snowing a lot here.  Not like the east coast got this past weekend, but a lot.

And all of this snow makes me want to make something easy but warm and comforting at the same time.  So when I was looking through some recipes I came across this one.  I was a bit hesitant at first.  It seemed like it might be a bit bland – especially since I was going to not include the walnuts.  But I was definitely mistaken – and happily so.  I haven’t had cauliflower in awhile and I have forgotten how yummy it can be when cooked well.  This recipe leaves the cauliflower still slightly crunch and well seasoned with red pepper flakes, garlic, salt and pepper.  Seriously yummy.

Whole Wheat Pasta with Cauliflower, Onions and Feta

From Chez Panisse Vegetables by Alice Waters

(I cut this recipe in half since there were only 2 people eating)

2 heads cauliflower

1 medium onion

4 cloves garlic

1 lb whole wheat pasta

Extra virgin olive oil

Salt and Pepper

1 pinch red pepper flaes

White wine vinegar

1/2 lemon

1/2 cup toasted walnuts (I left these out)

4 oz. ricotta salata or feta cheese

Put a large pot of water on to boil.  Cut the cauliflower into small flowerets.  Peel the onion and slice it very thin.  Peel and finely chop the garlic.  Put the pasta on to cook

Saute the cauliflower in olive oil in a large saute pan.  When the cauliflower begins to soften, season with salt and pepper and add the sliced onion and red pepper flakes.  Saute over medium to high heat until the vegetables are brown and tender.  The cauliflower should still be slightly crunch and should not taste steamed.  Add the garlic and remove from the heat, tossing and stirring so the garlic doesn’t burn; if it starts to brown, add a splash of water.  Add a few drops each of vinegar and lemon juice and the toasted walnuts (if using).  Taste and correct the seasoning.  When the pasta is done, drain and add the cauliflower, adding enough olive oil to coat the pasta thoroughly, toss together and serve, with the cheese crumbled over the dish

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