The cauliflower and I have had our ups and downs, I left it off my shopping list almost completely as an adult, until I met Bill who absolutley loves it. Funny because he is the ultimate foodie and where I had associated cauliflower with unhappily chewing it as a child, he raved about it as if it was a luxury! Bill loves to challenge his palate with new and unusual tastes and textures... from scrambled sea urchin to eel stew (both items he has recently chosen in restaurants) and more, he is the guy happily popping snails in his mouth like popcorn, nonchanantly chewing on a pigs ear in a rustic italian bar. Not that I wouldn't join him, but I have to confess my snail eating involves not looking at what I am about to put in my mouth for fear I should spy a little waving eye!
Recently at a friends house the subject of Casu marzu came up, when he heard about the practice of eating maggot infested (jumping maggots to add to your horror) cheese in sicily, Bill said "Weird, I'd love to taste it" and when horrified "whys" followed, he said "Well they eat it for a reason don't they, it obviously has something to offer". You can see how much of a foodie he is!
Anyway, he loves cauliflower and when I first met him he used to tell me about a dish an italian friend of his would prepare for him. He described it as a creamy cauliflower pasta. I thought it sounded horrible. Pasta and cauliflower? Stodgy old fashioned sour cauliflower? Surely not! Bills "weird food" fetish was going too far!
Then, while flicking through an old italian recipe book I'd inherited, I spied a recipe for pasta with cauliflower or Penne al Cavalfiore. I decided to give it a whirl, putting my own spin on it.
I'm so glad I gave it the benefit of the doubt, it is now a firm family favorite, so quick and easy, especially if you have a bag of frozen cauliflower in your freezer. Its really really good, always hits the spot - Do try it out! I've used large macaroni in the picture but penne is better...!
Penne al Cavalfiori (I love the italian word for cauliflower, much more appealling!)
Penne or tube pasta (about 100g per person)
Bechamel sauce (see recipe in comments)
Bag of frozen cauliflower florets
Boil the pasta along with the cauliflower florets, when the pasta is done as per the instructions, the cauliflower will be done.
Mix through the bechamel sauce, grate parmesan over the top, sprinkle as much cayenne pepper and salt and pepper as you like.
Surprisingly good isn't it?