This gorgeous romanesco inspired us to make a different kind of pasta sauce this week. It tastes similar to cauliflower but has a vibrant color and appearance. Pureed cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and romanesco make great bases for a healthy pasta sauces.This is a recipe that could be easily adapted by our vegan friends. Just omit the butter (add a little more olive oil) and don’t add any cheese when plating the dish.
For our non-vegan friends, we think the bright flavors of the romanesco contrasts beautifully with an earthy flavor like pancetta or Point Reyes blue original cheese. Try mixing in some blue cheese crumbles when finishing the sauce, or topping the plated dish with some crispy pancetta.
For dried pasta, we use Rustichella d’Abruzzo pasta. You can find it at some grocery stores as well as online. It makes a big difference in the taste and texture of your end result. Bright colored foods really pop against dark plates, like this Onyx dinner plate from the Heath Ceramics Coupe line.
- 2 count olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 shallot, finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 head Romanesco cut into 1” chunks
- 1 cup white wine
- sea salt
- Round Pond Italian olive oil
- Toast pine nuts in a skillet over medium heat. Be careful not to burn them.
- Heat oil and butter in a pan over medium-low heat. Add shallot and garlic and saute until beginning to soften. Add romanesco chunks to the saucepan. Add approx white wine to the pan until the romanesco is mostly submerged and simmer until the romanesco begins to soften. Remove from heat.
- Add mixture to a blender (we used a Vitamix on the puree setting) and puree until smooth. Return pureed mixture to the pan.
- Cook garganelli until al dente, then add to the romanesco sauce with a small amount of pasta water (approx ½ cup). Simmer about one minute, until pasta is cooked perfectly and plate the pasta, topping with fresh cracked pepper, a drizzle of Round Pond oilve oil, pine nuts, and freshly grated parmesan cheese, if desired.