Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pasta with cauliflower and brussels sprouts


I am loving the latest issue of Food + Wine! It got me really excited about brassicas, of all things. In case you don't know, brassicas are a group of vegetables that include cauliflower, cabbage, and brussels sprouts, among others - they are in full force at the markets right now. These are really not the most exciting vegetables and I usually struggle to find anything even halfway interesting to make with them. But after reading through Food + Wine, I actually went to the market last weekend hoping to get cabbage, and worrying that the brussels sprouts would be gone before I got there. (Side note: I actually had two anxiety dreams last week that involved not being able to get to the farmers' market. How weird am I?...Don't answer that). Anyway, this pasta dish was the first one I made out of all the recipes I tagged in the magazine. It's got nicely browned cauliflower and brussels sprouts, with tons of flavor from garlic, anchovies, rosemary, thyme, and cheese, all topped off with toasted bread crumbs. It was awesome! Hope you're ready for more brassica recipes in the next week or two...


What vegetables do you struggle the most to get excited about? 


Pasta with cauliflower and brussels sprouts
Adapted from the November 2011 issue of Food + Wine
Serves 5

12 ounces long pasta, such as linguine or bucatini (I used a whole wheat blend linguine)
5 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound cauliflower florets, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 pound brussels sprouts, halved or quartered if large
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 plump oil-packed anchovies,finely chopped
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs (I used whole wheat)
Heaping 1/2 cup coarsely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil and cook pasta until al dente. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of cooking water. 

Meanwhile, heat 2 tbs of the oil in a large heavy skillet over moderately high heat. Add cauliflower and brussels sprouts, cover skillet, and cook until vegetables are browned and crisp-tender, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 2 tbs of oil to the skillet along with the onion, garlic, anchovies, red pepper, rosemary, and thyme. Cook, stirring, until the onion is slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Cover and continue to cook vegetables over low heat until cauliflower and brussels sprouts are tender, about 5 minutes. 

In a small skillet, heat 1 tbs of oil over moderately high heat. Add the bread crumbs and cook, stirring, until crumbs are golden brown and crisp, about 4 minutes. Season bread crumbs with salt and transfer to a small bowl.

Add the pasta and 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water to the skillet containing the vegetables. Cook over moderate heat, tossing, until the water is almost all absorbed. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese. Add more pasta cooking water if mixture seems too dry. Add salt to taste and top individual bowls of pasta with bread crumbs before serving.


  1. I could never make this when boyfriend is around because he refuses to eat vegetarian but Mary Ellen would LOVE this. Looks gorgeous.

  2. I had no idea they were called brassicas! But I love them all and just had pasta with cauliflower myself last night. Totally should have added brussels and all those great herbs!

  3. I look forward to the fall all year long for its amazing vegetable selection. Even more than springtime and its asparagus, and summer and its peaches and tomatoes. Yup, I said it, and I'm not taking it back.

  4. HAHAHA. Apparently Linda knows me well. I REALLLLLLLY want to make this. I just don't know how I'm going to get Kevin to eat it.

  5. Linda and Mary Ellen - you could always add some meat if it would help get the boys to eat it! Otherwise, just make it for yourself. It's yummy =)

  6. you're not strange to be dreaming about food i do it all the time :) i have never heard of brassicas either, i usually just call them cruciferous veggies! love how much flavor you packed in here

  7. I LOVE Brassicas - turnips, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, kale, cabbage.... mmmm... This pasta looks great and I look forward to more Brassica recipes!

  8. I still haven't parsed through this issue yet but you've got me excited to really dig into it! This pasta looks delicious. Brassicas are favorites of mine as well...they're such a great group of veggies!

  9. That sounds really fantastic. I actually bookmarked a recipe for brussels sprouts last week that had anchovies and this has the same appeal to me plus extra yummy veggies. Definitely on my must make list now! :)


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