This recipe is essentially a cauliflower mac and cheese that's been dressed up a little bit. By roasting the cauliflower and spring garlic we really bring out their flavour and by finishing with lots of crunchy ingredients the combination of flavours and textures is just something else!
Preparation time 20 minutes
Cooking time 45 minutes
Serves 2-3 people
250g dried fusilli
Roughly 250g of cauliflower
2 stalks of green garlic
1 tbsp capers in brine
30g shaved almonds
Butter or extra virgin olive oil as needed
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopping board and knife
Baking tray lined with baking paper
Medium sized pot
Colander or strainer
Rubber spatula or wooden spoon
1. Begin by preparing the ingredients. Cut the cauliflower down into bite-sized florets. Cut the green garlic into small pieces of about 2cm long. You can grate all the parmesan and reserve for later.
2. Preheat an oven to 200C and on a rimmed baking sheet place the cauliflower and the green garlic and season well with olive oil, salt and pepper. Keep them separate form one another and allow enough space between them so they can colour well. Place in the oven and after 20 minutes of cooking check the green garlic as it will cook quicker. Remove them from the tray once they are cooked. Allow the cauliflower to keep cooking until nicely charred, roughly 20 minutes more.
3. On a separate baking sheet lay out the almonds and the breadcrumbs and reduce the heat of the oven to 160C. Place the nuts and breadcrumbs into the oven and allow to cook gently for 15 minutes or until light browning begins to show. Add a light sprinkling of Parmesan over them and place back in the oven for another 10 minutes until the crumb is nicely coloured. Remove from the oven and break up any large shards of cheese.
4. Half fill a medium sized pot with water and place over high heat until the water comes to a boil. Add enough salt until the water tastes salty, not quite as salty as the sea, but close! Allow the salt to dissolve and add the pasta. Gently stir to ensure that the fusilli don’t stick together and cook for 9 minutes or until the pasta is almost cooked.
5. Strain the pasta and reserve a cup of the water the pasta was cooking in. Add the pasta back to the pot but do not heat it up on the stove. Add a few lugs of olive oil or a few tablespoons of butter along with a few tablespoons of the pasta water and the grated parmesan. Stir to combine until everything is well combined.
This emulsification process is critical when saucing a good plate of pasta, by combining the olive oil or butter with cheese and pasta water we are creating a rich, creamy sauce.
6. Add the capers, roast cauliflower and spring garlic along with 2 tablespoons of the almonds and Parmesan breadcrumbs. Stir to combine and add a little bit more pasta water if necessary to loosen the sauce.
7. To finish, garnish the plates of pasta with torn leaves of parsley along with more of the almond and Parmesan crumb as well as freshly
cracked black pepper to taste.