If you read these posts day-by-day, it probably seems as if there are stretches where the recipes are quite similar. It’s true. It’s the way we eat. We pick up our produce from the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), generally 7-8 items, all fresh, and we have to use it before next week’s pickup. That means, if we get a lot of dill (this week), we have a lot of recipes based on dill (such as today’s).
This recipe comes from team Brassica, located deep in the vast complex of Scratchin’ It central. We simply showed them what we had in the refrigerator, and, after a few hours of cogitating, we had our recipe. Now, you don’t really care about the behind the scenes machinations, so we’ll just say this is another recipe that you can’t find elsewhere (well, maybe not). Oh, we will point out that if you omit the pasta, you’ll have a nice side dish of cauliflower.
Only use fresh lemon juice. The stuff in the bottle tastes, well, terrible. If you don’t have dill, this would work with thyme, and it would probably work with dried dill or thyme, too. Naturally, you can use any neutral oil in place of olive oil. We just use olive oil for almost everything. We have no idea if one can buy preserved lemon, but we know it’s easy to make, and, if you’re interested in making naturally-fermented products, it’s a great place to start. We show you how, right here. Finally, we recommend using Barilla brand gemelli pasta. It’s the best shape, and we think it’s the best-tasting dried pasta around. (If Barilla decides that this honest and uncompensated plug for their pasta is worth a life-time supply of pasta, well, so much the better. Actually, all our recommendations are simply what we use and like. Nothing more. Ever.)
Procedure in detail:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a piece of parchment for easy cleanup. As an aside, we never used to use parchment, then we bought a roll. It’s a miracle product for baking. We’ll never go without again.
Make marinade. In a large bowl, stir together the lemon juice (we used Meyer lemon juice because it’s the best, and we had Meyer lemons in the house), dill, garlic, salt, a couple grinds of pepper, and olive oil. You don’t have to try to emulsify the mixture; just a good stir to mix everything is fine.
Toss cauliflower. Add the cauliflower and toss to coat. You want to make sure that all the florets have a bit of lemon, oil, and dill on them, as that’s going to add the flavor.
Roast. Spread the cauliflower into a single layer on the prepared pan (or at least an even layer), and roast, stirring, say, every 15 minutes or so, until some of the florets have started to turn crispy and charred, about 45-60 minutes. As the cauliflower roasts, it’ll release a lot of moisture, so be careful when you open the oven, as steam will be released.
Cook pasta. When the cauliflower is nearly done, boil up the pasta according to the package directions. Drain thoroughly and divide among bowls.
Serve. Scoop the cauliflower on top, stir in if you wish — we didn’t — and top with grated cheese. Serve immediately, as cauliflower cools rapidly.
We were originally going to make a butter sauce to go with this, but we simply forgot. If you don’t forget, maybe you can make one and let us know how it turns out. We can say that we love roasted cauliflower. It turns slightly nutty, has a few crisp edges, and roasted with this marinade adds a bit of tartness that goes well with the saltiness of the Pecorino Romano. This is an easy four star recipe. Thanks, team Brassica!