The cauliflower is in! All of my plants produced usable heads this spring, with no bugs. What a nice change. The cool, wet weather this spring has benefitted the early vegetables, but I am not sure what the effect will be on my hot weather veggies. The tomato plants are not happy and my okra disappeared. Only time will tell.
Cauliflower has become one of our favorite vegetables to build a meal around. I usually pan or oven roast it; this recipe is a change, in that the cauliflower is steamed. This version is a very minor adaptation of a recipe by Deborah Madison’s Vegetable Literacy from Splendid Table.
The orange pasta is a carrot squash pasta. I had never tried it before, but it worked perfectly for this dish. The flavor complemented the saffron very nicely, and it added some color to what would have been a very white bowl.
Saffron Cauliflower and Shrimp Pasta
(adapted from “Vegetable Literacy” by Deborah Madison)
1 cauliflower (about 1 1/2 ponds), broken into small florets, the core diced (from the garden)
2 bsp olive oil, plus more for tossing the pasta
1 onion, finely diced
2 pinches saffron threads
1 garlic scape, minced (from the garden)
1 pound gulf shrimp
Scant 1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp dried parsley (from the garden)
8 – 12 ounces pasta bow ties, shells, or other pasta (we used carrot squash bow ties)
Steam the cauliflower florets and core for 4 minutes. Taste a piece, it should be on the verge of tenderness, but not quite fully cooked. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta.
Peel the shrimp, then saute over high heat in olive oil until pink and firm, after 5 minutes or so. Toss with 1/2 minced garlic scape and some of the parsley. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a wide skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and saffron and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft, 6 minutes or so. The steam will activate the saffron so that it stains and flavors the onion.
Add the garlic scape, pepper flakes, and a little parsley. Stir, then add the cauliflower. Toss to coat with the seasonings. Add 1/2 cup water, and cook over medium heat until the cauliflower is tender, just a few minutes. Season with salt, toss with half the remaining parsley and keep warm.
Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, transfer to a warmed bowl and toss with a few tablespoons of olive oil and the remaining parsley.
Taste for salt, then spoon the cauliflower over the pasta, mix lightly.
Spoon into individual pasta dishes and top with shrimp. Enjoy!
Serves 4 – 5.
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