Sharing Food and Memories with Friends and Family

December 10, 2011
Irene Saiger


Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower

There is something wonderful about visiting NYC just as winter is approaching.  The air is crisp and clean, and although it may be chilly, it isn’t the bitter cold that would normally prevent you from being outdoors.  In fact it is perfect walking weather.  The windows on 5th Avenue are decked out for the holiday season, stores are busy, and salespeople helpful.  Shops are filled with the scent of spices that we associate with winter festivities and celebrations, like cinnamon, ginger, and pumpkin.  My sister said that she was on sensory overload, too much to buy, to see, to try, to do.  Still when it came time to leave, she said that it was harder for her to leave this time, harder than during her previous visits.  In part we are sad to leave the place where we spent our childhood because as we wander the streets, we are flooded with memories.  Winter memories of coming home to my mother who would be standing and warming her hands on the stove, my father coming in after work and rubbing his cold face against our cheeks, putting wet gloves on the steaming radiator in the living room, and of course lots of good food everywhere.  Some things never change.

Here is a list of my recent discoveries and indulgences.  

Breakfast at Saltie in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  I recommend the Ship’s Biscuit which wasn’t a biscuit at all but a hearty focaccia slathered with a layer of ricotta and the most perfectly seasoned scrambled eggs.

Brunch at Pastis, a French Bistro in the Meatpacking District.  Perfect for a special occasion.

Dinner at Porsena in the Village.  We started with Baccalá mantecato, salt cod with potato, garlic toast and extra virgin olive oil.  Salt cod is amazing!!!!   For dinner I had Penette col Cavolfiore – roasted cauliflower, olives, capers, garlic, toasted breadcrumbs .

If you still have energy take a ride down to the Lower East Side.   I accidentally came across Economy Candy and spent some time going down memory lane.  I walked out with $40.00 worth of candy and although I was lectured by my sister and son for spending a ridiculous amount of money on candy,  that night there were no complaints as we each ate our share of Abba Zabba, Bit O Honey, thin strands of red licorice, and my personal favorite, Baby Ruth.

Happy Holidays.

Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower

1 head cauliflower chopped into small pieces

1/2 cup breadcrumbs

1/2 lb. cooked pasta

2 Tb capers

1/2 cup olives

1/4 cup roasted garlic cloves

olive oil

salt and pepper to taste.

Toss chopped cauliflower with about 2 Tb olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast on a cookie sheet in a 450 degree oven for about 20 minutes or till tips are golden brown.  Then sprinkle with bread crumbs and roast for another five minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside.

In a large bowl,  toss together 3-5 Tb of olive oil, capers, roasted garlic cloves (optional), cooked pasta and cauliflower.  Season to taste.  Add a little more olive oil on top and serve with shaved parmesan.  Serves 4.



7 thoughts on “Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower

  1. I made this today in NYC for my vegan cousin (parmesan on the side)–DELICIOUS!!!!! Hope we can meet up next time you’re in town.
    Happy new year,

  2. What a lovely evocative post! I love the part about the wet gloves on the radiator and your father’s cold face against your cheeks. Economy candy–I was there a long time ago . . . NYC really is a lot of fun, and not just this time of year.

    The pasta dish sounds good–I have cauliflower in the fridge. Maybe this would be also good without the pasta as a vegetable side dish. I have made cauliflower pasta with breadcrumbs and olives before and I remember loving it (I think it was a Mario Batali recipe).

  3. Dear Irene.

    You could not have said it better. We have been savoring the malt balls for the last few weeks. I dole them out as though they were gold. And it was very hard to leave NY this time. It is hard to leave the family especially when we are all together and it is hard to leave the city where we grew up. It was also so difficult because it was, as you said, the perfect time of the year. There is no place in the world like NY during the holiday season. I was so tempted to get some chestnuts but it was never the right time or we were never near a street vendor that was selling them. Next time.

    Next time I think we should go the Arthur Avenue. In Tampa, we wandered into a small pizza place that looked nice and that prided itself for being in business since 1989. So I asked where they were from. They were from Arther Avenue and came to Florida in the early 80’s and had opened several restaurants. This was their last restaurant and the owner was retiring and turning over the business to his niece who helped us. She was so nice and the food was delicious. Of all the restaurants in Tampa, we wandered into the right one. Bashert!

    By the way, I am going to make your recipe with zucchini tonight because cauliflower is not one of Jeffrey’s favorites. I am sure it will be just as delicious.

    Love, me

    • Thanks Anita,

      Nice that we finally agree!! I don’t think they allow chestnuts on the street anymore. Something about the smell or the carcinogens from the roasting, I think. Yes, I agree we should definitely make a trip to Arthur Avenue. By the way, how did the pasta come out??


  4. This looks great — I just e-mailed it Steve, who is the pasta chef in our house!

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