I had picked up a cauliflower because it was on sale, without knowing what I was going to do with it. Then when it was time to cook I wanted to try something new, and as ravioli is one of my specialties I decided to make ravioli stuffed with cauliflower. I got the inspiration for the other ingredients from this Sicilian recipe that I recently tried. I braised the cauliflower to enhance its flavor, and roasted part of the cauliflower for some crunch. The result was spectacular, especially considering it featured cauliflower as the main ingredient and how bland cauliflower often is. These ravioli had great depth of flavor with a great balance between the different flavors and a very recognizable cauliflower flavor. The crunch of the roasted cauliflower worked out just as planned. This was outstanding, especially for a vegetarian dish, and I will definitely serve this to dinner guests soon.
400 grams (.9 lbs) cauliflower florets
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil + more
1 small onion, chopped
120 ml (1/2 cup) red wine
2 anchovies or the equivalent in anchovies paste
50 grams (5 Tbsp) freshly grated pecorino (preferably sardo, toscano or siciliano)
1 Tbsp minced fresh flat leaf parsley
1 Tbsp black olives, sliced
2 Tbsp slivered almonds
salt and freshly ground pepper
For the pasta dough
200 grams (1 1/4 cup) Italian 00 flour
Cover and cook over low heat, stirring now and then, until the cauliflower is soft enough to mash it with a fork. This takes about 1 hour. You may need to add a bit of water (or more red wine) if it becomes too dry.
Add 40 grams (4 Tbsp) of the cheese and the remaining 2 Tbsp of olive oil, and incorporate with the fork. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground pepper. As usual with ravioli, over-season the stuffing just ever so slightly.
Meanwhile, make fresh pasta dough from the flour and eggs, wrap it in foil and allow it to rest for half an hour in the refrigerator.
Roast the slivered almonds along with the cauliflower until golden, 5-10 minutes.
Roll out the pasta dough as thinly as possible and make ravioli with the stuffing according to my instructions.
Once cooked, transfer the ravioli to warm plates with a slotted spoon. Garnish with the roasted cauliflower, the toasted slivered almonds, the parsley, the olives, and the remaining cheese. You may wish to add a bit of very good extra virgin olive oil. Serve at once.
This is very nice with many Italian reds. We enjoyed it with a Chianti Classico. The wine should not be too fruity or too oakey.
Another humble pasta dish from Lazio but oh so delicious: Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe. It is amazing how spaghetti with just pepper, cheese (and the magic ingredient: the pasta cooking water) can be!