Whole Wheat Pasta with Cauliflower, Walnuts, and Parmesan

Oct 7th

Last night there occurred an impromptu girls night involving myself, my 1 mo. old daughter, both grand-moms and Monica, our close family friend. The plan was to go out to an Italian restaurant and play pass the baby. I happen to know said baby likes to scream her head off between the hours of 7 and 9 pm, so I didn’t see the restaurant as a great option. I decided to save us all some cash and make us a pasta dinner while THEY played pass the screaming baby.

This is an example of how cooking can save you BIG BUCKS. For instance- whole wheat pasta? 2 dollars. A head of cauliflower? 3 dollars. 1/2 c. walnuts, 2 dollars. Parsley, free from the backyard. Cheese- for the amount we used I would say 2 dollars. Two bottles of wine, probably 10 each. We served four for twenty bucks! At a restaurant it would have been at least 30 a head.

The reason we like restaurants so much is because they use too much salt, too much fat, and too much sugar. Cooking at home is almost ALWAYS a healthier option. Especially this dish; I used 56% whole wheat pasta, Ronzini Healthy Harvest. Most whole wheat pasta is only 51% whole wheat. The walnuts and olive oil give us a great amount of heart healthy monounsaturated fat, and cauliflower is an overlooked gem.. almost as good for you as broccoli and crazy low in calories. This came together quickly and tasted delish.

Whole Wheat Pasta with Cauliflower, Walnuts and Parmesan

Serves 4-6

1 head cauliflower

1/2 c. olive oil, divided

1/4 c. balsamic vinegar

2 tsp. kosher salt

Pepper to taste

1/2 c. walnuts, toasted

1 lb. whole wheat pasta, any shape, I used spaghettini

1 onion, finely diced

5 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 c. Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiano if you have it)

1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley

1. Set oven to 425. Break up cauliflower into florets of similar size.

2. Cover sheet pan with foil and spread cauliflower over top. Drizzle 3 tbsp. of the olive oil and the balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle 2 tsp. kosher salt and add pepper to taste. Toss together on sheet pan and put into the oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

3. Meanwhile, toast walnuts on a skillet. Add a spray of cooking spray and a dash of salt for added seasoning (these ingredients aren’t listed above, just a suggestion).To toast nuts, put on a medium hot skillet and toss every minute or so. They are done when they are fragrant and golden. Babysit nuts as they cook, though, because they burn SO quickly.

4. Bring a pot of water to boil and add 1 tbsp. salt. Meanwhile prepare your onion, garlic and parsley.

5. When cauliflower and walnuts are done, put in bowls near stove (along with onion, garlic, parsley, and cheese). Mise en place!

6. As water boils, add pasta and stir. Let pasta cook until still al dente, as it will finish in your skillet. Reserve at least 1 c. of pasta cooking water, and drain.

DON’T BREAK YOUR PASTA! Just stir it.

7. Bring a large skillet or frying pan to medium high heat. Add 2 tbsp. oil and let it get hot. Add onions and saute until translucent and fragrant.

8. Add garlic and stir frequently. After about 3 minutes, add cauliflower and toss.

9. Add pasta to skillet and toss.

10. Add cheese and toss.

11. Add remaining olive oil (3 tbsp.) and cooking water as needed, tossing frequently with the heat over medium.

12. Either plate pasta and top with walnuts and parsley or add it to the skillet, whichever you prefer.

13. Top pasta with additional grated cheese. Serve immediately.

The girls enjoyed it!

Whole Wheat Pasta with Cauliflower, Walnuts and Parmesan

Serves 4-6

1 head cauliflower

1/2 c. olive oil, divided

1/4 c. balsamic vinegar

2 tsp. kosher salt

Pepper to taste

1/2 c. walnuts, toasted

1 lb. whole wheat pasta, any shape, I used spaghettini

1 onion, finely diced

5 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 c. Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiano if you have it)

1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley

1. Set oven to 425. Break up cauliflower into florets of similar size.

2. Cover sheet pan with foil and spread cauliflower over top. Drizzle 3 tbsp. of the olive oil and the balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle 2 tsp. kosher salt and add pepper to taste. Toss together on sheet pan and put into the oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

3. Meanwhile, toast walnuts on a skillet. Add a spray of cooking spray and a dash of salt for added seasoning (these ingredients aren’t listed above, just a suggestion).To toast nuts, put on a medium hot skillet and toss every minute or so. They are done when they are fragrant and golden. Babysit nuts as they cook, though, because they burn SO quickly.

4. Bring a pot of water to boil and add 1 tbsp. salt. Meanwhile prepare your onion, garlic and parsley.

5. When cauliflower and walnuts are done, put in bowls near stove (along with onion, garlic, parsley, and cheese). Mise en place!

6. As water boils, add pasta and stir. Let pasta cook until still al dente, as it will finish in your skillet. Reserve at least 1 c. of pasta cooking water, and drain.

7. Bring a large skillet or frying pan to medium high heat. Add 2 tbsp. oil and let it get hot. Add onions and saute until translucent and fragrant.

8. Add garlic and stir frequently. After about 3 minutes, add cauliflower and toss.

9. Add pasta to skillet and toss.

10. Add cheese and toss.

11. Add remaining olive oil (3 tbsp.) and cooking water as needed, tossing frequently with the heat over medium.

12. Either plate pasta and top with walnuts and parsley or add it to the skillet, whichever you prefer.

13. Top pasta with additional grated cheese. Serve immediately.

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