Linguine with Cauliflower and Brussel Sprouts

Ok on the surface this dish does sound a little weird. I mean brussel sprouts and cauliflower in one dish? It’s a kid’s worst nightmare! But as I sat on our flight home from Shanghai, doing everything possible to keep myself awake and reduce my jet lag, I found the recipe in Food & Wine and knew it would be one of the first things I cooked when I finally got back to my kitchen. I am not sure if it had something to do with incorporating actual fresh, seasonal vegetables, its lack of mystery meat, or that it just looked so much more appealing than the plate of airplane food in front of me but I was sold. Yes reading Food & Wine magazine while eating airplane food is probably up there with one of the worst things you could do to yourself but like I said I was desperate.

Just as I dreamt on that long flight home, the dish was absolutely delicious! For me living in California, it is the perfect fall dish. The days here have been super warm and sunny but the nights cool and fall like. What could be more perfect for this weather than a light pasta dish that incorporates fall vegetables? In my mind, not much.

I had never made a recipe from Food & Wine before so I was a little nervous about the task that lay ahead. Plus, despite my amazing no jet-lag strategy, I had a pretty bad case of it. I prepped all the ingredients ahead of time and started the cooking. I might have forgotten to add the red pepper flakes while my veggies were cooking (damn jet lag) but a little red pepper flakes while plating and this dish was near perfection. It is a total make again and was a great welcome home dish for me and the hubby.

See the recipe adapted below so you can enjoy it at home too! I hear there is some seriously crazy fall, or should I say winter weather, hitting my fam on the east coast right now! Stay warm.

Linguine with Cauliflower and Brussel Sprouts (adapted from Food & Wine Magazine November 2011)

Serves 2 (I halved the original recipe)

6 oz of linguine (F&W recommends bucatini or perciatelli neither of which I could find in SF)

1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 lb of cauliflower florets, cut in 1-inch pieces

1/4 lb of brussel sprouts, halved or quartered if larger

salt & freshly ground pepper

1/2 small onion, finely chopped

1 large clove of garlic, thinly sliced

2 plump oil-packed anchovies, minced

1/4 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp chopped rosemary

1/2 tsp chopped thyme

1/4 cup dry bread crumbs (I used my home-made ones and highly recommend)

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the past until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of cooking water.

Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, heat 2 tbsp of the oil. Add the cauliflower and brussel sprouts and season with salt and pepper; cover and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly charred and crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add 2 tbsp of oil to the skillet along with the onion, garlic, anchovies, crushed red pepper, rosemary and thyme; cook, stirring, until the onion is slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Cover and cook over low heat until the cauliflower and sprouts are tender, about 3 minutes. Keep warm.

In a small skillet, heat the remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil. Add the bread crumbs and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until golden and crisp, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and transfer to a bowl.

Add the pasta and reserved cooking water to the vegetables and cook over moderate heat, tossing, until the water is nearly absorbed. Remove from the heat and stir in the 1/4 cup of grated cheese (I eyeballed this). Serve the pasta in wide bowls, passing the bread crumbs and additional cheese at the table.

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