This is a very simple but amazingly delicious recipe that I discovered mostly by accident. If you make beef stock from scratch and allow it to cool, a layer of solid fat will form on the top.
I always used to discard this fat, but not anymore! There is a lot of flavor in it, and together with the cauliflower, ground cumin and pecorino sardo the flavor is out of this world. So next time you make beef stock, keep the fat and make this dish. I promise you won’t regret it!
This is a week night dish that is easy to prepare if you already have the reserved beef fat. A bit of the stock/gravy will usually stick to the fat when you remove it; that is fine and will enhance the flavor even more. Pecorino sardo is an aged sheep’s cheese from the island of Sardinia. It has more flavor and is less salty than it’s better known brother from around Rome, pecorino romano. If you can’t find the sardo, it’s better to substitute with parmigiano reggiano than with pecorino romano.
150 grams (1/3 package) orechiette or other short pasta
400 grams (.9 lbs) cauliflower florets
about 6 Tbsp beef fat from home-made beef stock/gravy
salt and freshly ground white pepper
ground cumin to taste
freshly grated aged pecorino sardo (or parmigiano reggiano)
Preheat the oven to 225C/425F.
Melt the beef fat in an oven-proof frying pan.
Season with ground cumin, freshly ground white pepper, and salt. Toss until the cauliflower is evenly coated.
Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the cauliflower is cooked and starting to color.
Meanwhile, boil the pasta in salted water al dente according to package instructions.
Drain the pasta, reserving some of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the cauliflower with freshly grated pecorino sardo and a few tablespoons of the reserved cooking water.
Serve on warm plates, sprinkled with some more freshly grated pecorino sardo.
13 thoughts on “Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower and Fat from Beef Stock”
I love this one – its like a vegetarian creation for meat eaters. I wouldn’t be able to serve it up to the Mrs though….
Great recipe! We already like cauliflower and cumin…the beef fat and pecorino would be even better!
And now for something completely different. I never would have thought to try this, Stefan. Now that you have, though, it sounds delicious.
It was mostly luck that it turned out so well.
Looks excellent. Growing up, we used to have a bowl of beef ‘dripping’ as it was called in one of the presses. We used it for frying. Everything was tasty, if not particularly good for one. Every week or so, the bowl would be topped up with the fat from a joint. There was a lot more fat back in the day.
Thanks Conor. I’m sure it’s not so bad as long as we don’t eat it every day.
Tallow is wonderfully flavorful but not especially good for you. Why is it that things that taste so good are not good for you? I would imagine this dish just sings!
As long as you don’t eat it every day, it won’t kill you 🙂