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I overheard a customer asking what the unusual looking green thing was at Annabelle’s Garden last week. It was a head of romanesco and when told that it was kind of a cross between cauliflower and broccoli, she wondered how to cook it. I hope she’s reading her newsletter this week because here is a recipe for romanesco that sounds just delicious!

Pasta With Roasted Romanesco And Capers

from Claire Saffitz for Bon Appetit

10-8-annabelles-romanescoIngredients:

  • ¼ cup chopped almonds
  • ¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons olive oil; plus more for drizzling
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers, patted dry, divided
  • Kosher salt
  • ½ medium romanesco or cauliflower, cored, cut into small florets
  • garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, plus more for serving
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 12 ounces medium shell pasta
  • 2 ounces aged Asiago cheese or Pecorino, finely grated
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°. Cook almonds, ¼ cup oil, and 1 Tbsp. capers in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, swirling pan occasionally, until capers burst and almonds are golden brown and smell toasty, about 5 minutes. Transfer almonds and capers with a slotted spoon to a small bowl; season with salt. Let cool. Toss romanesco with oil from saucepan on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt. Roast, tossing halfway through, until tender, 20–25 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 3 Tbsp. oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high. Add garlic, ½ tsp. red pepper flakes, and remaining 1 Tbsp. capers and cook, stirring often, until garlic is golden, about 3 min. Add wine and cook until liquid is almost completely evaporated, about 2 min.
  3. Cook pasta in boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until very al dente, about 3 minutes less than package directions.
  4. Using a spider or a slotted spoon, transfer pasta to pot with garlic; add 1 cup pasta cooking liquid. Reduce heat to medium and cook, tossing often, until pasta is al dente and liquid is slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Add ¼ cup pasta cooking liquid, then gradually add cheese, tossing until melted and dissolved into a luxurious, glossy sauce. Remove from heat; add butter and toss to combine. Toss in the roasted romanesco.
  5. Divide pasta among bowls. Top with fried almonds and capers and more red pepper flakes and drizzle with oil.

Cook’s Note: Broccoli would be just as good in this pasta recipe, as would diced winter squash such as butternut or acorn.