Friday, March 14, 2014

Recipe: Romanesco Cauliflower Mac

No idea what romanesco cauliflower is? Don't worry, you definitely aren't alone. (My spell check doesn't even recognize it.)

Some people call it romanesco broccoli.

Or fractal cauliflower. 

This is what it looks like: 


We had our first experience with this veggie fairly recently, when one arrived in our CSA box. We discovered that it is great straight up roasted with some olive oil and salt and pepper. I think it tastes more like broccoli than cauliflower but also much nuttier. It really has its own flavor altogether.  

You should try it! 

I was ready to try something new this past Monday so, using Martha Stewart's Broccoli Romanesco and Parmesan Puree recipe as inspiration, I decided to whip up a veggie and cheese mac for Meatless Monday. 

This could also be a fun St. Patrick's Day dish. You know, because it's green. 

Romanesco Cauliflower Mac

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 head romanesco cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup nonfat milk
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 ounces small macaroni
  • Fresh parsley, for serving

  1. Cook macaroni to al dente, according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking liquid before draining.
  2. While macaroni is cooking, prepare the sauce. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the romanesco cauliflower and cook, stirring often, until beginning to brown.
  3. Add water, reduce heat to low, cover and cook until the romanesco cauliflower is easily pierced with a fork. 
  4. Drain any remaining water from the skillet and transfer the romanesco cauliflower to a blender or food processor. Add milk and process until smooth. If needed, add a bit of the pasta cooking liquid to get the sauce to your desired consistency. 
  5. Combine the pasta and sauce. Serve in bowls with a sprinkle of parmesan and chopped parsley. 

Based on my calculations, this is approximately 350 calories/serving.

Disclaimer: I don't believe in hiding vegetables to get children to eat more vegetables. Primarily because they don't learn that vegetables are awesome and that they actually LIKE vegetables. However, if you have a particularly picky eater on your hands, child or adult, this may be a good way to sneak in some extra good green stuff. 

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