Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook -- Linguine with Cauliflower Pesto

When I found this recipe, three things jumped out at me.  First of all, I've always been pretty well convinced that cauliflower was something I wanted nothing to do with.  It was bitter, it was boring-looking. . .it had no redeeming qualities.

Secondly, I've never made any kind of pesto before.  This one seemed easy enough.  And there were sun-dried tomatoes involved, which can never be a bad idea.

Third, it reminded me of the show Friends, which I love and pretty much have memorized.  It reminded me of this scene where Phoebe meets Monica's sous chef, and he's making pesto.  They're flirting, and Phoebe says "Is your pesto the best-o?" and the guy says, "I don't know. . .but it's pretty good-o."

That's what I think of every time I hear the word pesto.  And anything that reminds me of Friends can't be bad.

This recipe has a really interesting texture, and Dennis was especially a fan of the texture the almonds added. Incidentally, it's really good reheated the next day (or the day after!), with a salad.

Linguine with Cauliflower Pesto

Makes 6 to 8 servings


1 small head cauliflower
1 Tbsp. garlic
Large pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 cup almonds
2 oz. Parmesan cheese
4 to 6 sun dried tomatoes
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
1 pound linguine

Pulse the cauliflower in a food processor, in batches if you need to.  Transfer the cauliflower to a separate bowl.

Pulse the garlic, pepper flakes, almonds, cheese, and tomatoes into the food processor until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.  Dump this mixture into the bowl with the cauliflower.

Add a few pinches of salt, the vinegar, and the olive oil and hand-mix until combined.

Prepare the linguine according to the directions on the package.  Save 1 cup of the water the linguine was boiled in.  

When it's finished, toss the linguine with the pesto and half the cooking water.  If the pesto is too thick, add more of the cooking water.  (I added the entire cup at the onset.  The texture was great.)

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