FRIED CAULIFLOWER WITH MARGHERITA

The crispness of the fried cauliflower and garlic with the rippled noodles make an unforgettable dish for late fall or winter. Easy to prepare and serves 6.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large or 2 small heads caulifower (about 3 pounds)
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cups dry bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly milled black pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound margherita (narrow rippled noodles)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth, heated (see note)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Romano cheese
  • 2 tsp minced Italian parsley leaves (garnish)
  • Freshly grated Romano cheese (for serving)

Prepare:

 1.  Remove florets from cauliflower, including about 1 inch of stem.  Break or cut into 1 inch pieces.  Wash thoroughly in lukewarm water, drain in colander and set aside. 

2.  Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil.  Add 1 tablespoon salt and the cauliflower florets.  Boil until barely tender when tested with a fork, about 5 minutes.  With a skimmer or slotted spoon, transfer florets to a colander, rinse under cold water and drain well.  Reserve liquid for cooking pasta. 

3.  In a shallow bowl, combine flour, bread crumbs, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper.  Dredge florets in flour mixture, being sure each piece is well coated.  Arrange in a single layer on a large platter.
 4.  In a 12 inch skillet, heat 1/2 cup olive oil over medium heat until haze forms.  Add garlic, turn heat to low and saute’ until lightly golden, pressing the garlic flat in pan with the back of a wooden spoon.  With a slotted spoon, remove garlic and drain on paper towel; set aside.  (If you are not a garlic lover, discard.)  Place florets in pan and saute’ over medium heat, turning with spatula,  until golden and crisp on all sides; don’t be concerned if florets break apart while frying. 

5.  Meanwhile, return water in which cauliflower was cooked to a boil.  Add pasta and cook until al dente; the cauliflower and pasta must be done at the same time so that the florets will still be crispy when tossed with the pasta.  Drain pasta in a large colander, transfer to a bowl containing 1 tablespoon olive oil and toss quickly.
 6.  Mix half of the cauliflower and any of the browned fragments stuck to the bottom of the pan with the pasta.  Add sauteed garlic, heated chicken broth and Romano cheese; toss well again.  Spoon remaining cauliflower on top and garnish  with minced parsley.  Serve immediately with additional grated Romano cheese. 

 Note:  If you do not have chicken broth, remove 1/2 cup of the pasta water before  draining and substitute for broth.

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