How much can you experiment when it comes to pasta? Because I cringe at the thought of people making ‘white sauce’ with mayo in it, but here I am making a ‘faux’ white sauce with cauliflower! Here me out though, because I swear you won’t believe how amazing this recipe is. You might be wondering how I got started on this path and I’m afraid it’s not to make white sauce healthier – although that’s a welcome side effect. I had a huge head of cauliflower lying in my fridge, a large box of pasta lying in my pantry and I was mad enough to put them together!
The first time I made this recipe I used just cauliflower for the sauce which resulted in an oddly grey sauce with green undertones. It tasted great but looked quite unappetising. Hence the addition of carrots which coloured the sauce yellow, almost giving the look of a cheese sauce. The cauliflower and carrots are boiled in stock to give it some extra flavour. Since the resulting sauce tastes heavily of cauliflower, I like to go hard with a lot of garlic to complement it. You could add any pasta seasoning you like but I would highly recommend adding pepper since it goes so well with the sauce.
Non-stick pans are a staple of most kitchens now and it’s the pan I almost always use for any type of cooking. Right out of the box I loved the Wonderchef Granite set. There’s no denying the appeal of the cool grey palette. It’s a neutral shade that will compliment most kitchens! It’s also something I’m always appreciative about since I have to photograph food so much. The other thing I noticed right off the bat was how heavy the pans felt in my hands. It’s one thing to read about the 3.5mm extra thick rim and bottom and it’s another thing to actually see how that translates into a heavier but sturdier pan. Especially when you’re tossing pasta, which there’s a lot of in this recipe obviously! You’ll feel just how solid and durable the pan is while tossing your food around like a pro chef!
Your new non-stick pan is amazing when you first start using it, but with time the coating becomes less reliable. While the MetaTuff non-stick coating on the Wonderchef Granite set will last you much longer than expected, there are ways for you to extend its life. One of the most important things is to avoid using the pan on high heat and to never, ever place let an empty pan get really hot. With all non-stick pans you want to generally stick to medium to medium-low heat. You also want to make sure to use the right spatulas with your pans. The Waterstone Silicone Non-Stick Spatula is particularly great for all your non-stick cookware. Take care of your equipment and it’ll last you ages! Like the Sumo Silverado Mixer Grinder which I used to blend the sauce for this recipe!
I’ve kept this pasta really simple with just olives. An ideal combination would be olives and capers but I can’t always get my hands on capers so I usually do two types of olives instead! Feel free to experiment and add whatever vegetables you like. I’m not a big fan of mushrooms but they would be a fantastic addition to this sauce!
There’s two things I love most about this pasta. One, how delicious it is, and two, how surprised people are when I reveal that the sauce is made of cauliflower! It’s a great way to sneak in some extra veggies into your kids meals and they’ll never know the difference. This cauliflower cream sauce is a new favourite of mine and I can’t wait to see what you think of it!
Time: 40 minutes
- 180g chopped cauliflower (about 1 ½ – 2 cups)
- 30g chopped carrot (about half a small carrot)
- 1 ½ cups stock (or 1 ½ cups water + 1 stock cube)
- 100g dried pasta (about 1 cup)
- 4 large garlic cloves
- 1 small onion
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp pepper
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- ½ tsp salt (or as needed)
- 25g shredded cheddar cheese. (about ¼ cup packed)
- ¼ cup green olives
- ¼ cup black olives
- 4-5 leaves fresh basil
- Add stock and water to a small saucepan along with the cauliflower florets and carrots and bring to a boil.
- Simmer and cook for 7-10 minutes until the florets are soft and breaking apart.
- Set aside to cool.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil.
- Once the water is at a rolling boil, salt generously and add the pasta.
- Cook until the pasta is al dente, about 15 minutes.
- Once the cauliflower is cool, strain and reserve the remaining cooking liquid.
- Add the cauliflower and carrots to a mixer along with half a cup of the reserved liquid and blend until smooth.
- Add olive oil to a pan and place on medium to low heat.
- Once the oil is hot add chopped onions and sauté for 1 minute.
- Add the crushed garlic and sauté for 2 minutes.
- Add pepper, oregano, salt and chilli flakes and mix well.
- Add the cooked pasta to the onions and spices and toss well.
- Add the cauliflower puree and shredded cheese to the pasta and mix well.
- Add green and black olives and mix.
- Taste and adjust seasoning if required.
- Garnish with fresh basil and freshly crushed black pepper.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!
Author: Sneha Sundar is the creator of You Dim Sum, You Lose Some; a philosophy she adopts both in and out of the kitchen.