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
- 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
- 8 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Cook pasta in boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until very al dente, about 3 minutes less than package directions.
- 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.
- 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.