If I were to have an endless supply of savory, cheesy, delicious, provocative pasta this would be it. Its one of those, gets better over night, fill my stomach, sticks to the bones kind of dish. Whats even better is if you were craving a beefy dish, this would satisfy that craving!
The name of the dish says cauliflower but the MVP is the shiitake mushrooms, which creates texture and flavor. Mushrooms have the amazing ability to create the satisfaction that meat does through the presence of umami. THATS RIGHT, the same savory appeal that a juicy T-bone could give you...but its a veggie. So it not only creates both appetite appeal and satiety, it enhances the flavor and counterbalances saltiness. It also highlights sweetness while lessening bitterness....WHAT MORE COULD YOU WANT?
I checked with the mushroom council (real thing) and they said the mushrooms of darker complexion have higher amounts of umami. Meaning Shiitake, portabella, cremini and white bottom will be best for the recipes. Also dried mushrooms have more umami than cooked but in this case we want raw.
When I fed this to a family of four, the 2 picky eater kids LOVED IT, wanted more and actually ate a few servings of veggies in the process. What's even better is the noodles were chickpea based so no pasta was harmed in the process! I also made this for a retreat for 20+ women and they couldn't believe it was not B U T T E R (meat).
All I can say, is make the dish, maybe double it cause it stays up to a week. Happy cooking
Cauliflower Bolognese (6 servings)
· 12 oz. mushrooms, such as shiitake or crimini, stems removed
· 1 medium head of cauliflower (about 2¼ lb.), broken into florets (ALSO COULD BUY PRE RICED CAULIFLOWER)
· 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
· 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
· 1 large onion, finely chopped
· 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
· 1 chile, such as serrano, Holland, or Fresno, thinly sliced, or ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
· 1 Tbsp. finely chopped rosemary
· 1/3 cup double-concentrated tomato paste
· Kosher salt
· 1 lb. rigatoni (use this thick kind of noodle to hold the meaty (pho) goodness)/ OR substitute a plant based pasta such as Banza Chickpea Penne or Rigatoni
· 2 oz. finely grated Parmesan (about 1 cup), plus more for serving
· 3 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley
· half lemon
· Pulse mushrooms in a food processor until finely chopped. Transfer to a small bowl. Wipe out food processor bowl.
· (Skip if using pre riced cauliflower)Working in batches, pulse cauliflower in food processor until pieces are about the size of a grain of rice (some smaller and some larger ones are fine), transferring to a medium bowl as you go.
· Heat ¼ cup oil and 1 Tbsp. butter in a large heavy pot over medium-high. Add onion in a pan, in separate pan add 1 tbsp mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, until water has slightly evaporated. Add onion (6-8 minutes) after browned to mushroom pan.
· In a second pan add cauliflower and cook, still stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is cooked down slightly and begins to stick to bottom of pot, 6–8 minutes. Add to large pot with mushrooms and onion once ready.
· Add garlic, chile, and rosemary and cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is softened and mixture is very fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until paste is slightly darkened, about 2 minutes. In a second pan Season with salt, then keep warm over low heat.
· Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until almost al dente, about 1 minute less than package directions.
· Using a slotted spoon, transfer pasta to pot with sauce. Add 1 cup Parmesan, remaining 2 Tbsp. butter, and 1 cup pasta cooking liquid. Increase heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until pasta is al dente and sauce is clinging to pasta, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in parsley. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt (it'll probably need another pinch or two). Finely zest lemon over pasta and toss once more.
· Divide pasta among bowls. Top with more Parmesan, then drizzle with oil.