Though this is a pasta hugged by cream sauce—with all the warm, fuzzy feelings such a thing has to offer—it’s made mostly of vegetables, with no cream or egg. You’d counterintuitively call this cream-saucy pasta light—fresh, even. The secret is that cauliflower’s cell walls are naturally abundant in pectin, which helps the cooked vegetable thicken voluptuously when blended. It’s frankly a wonder we hadn’t been pouring it over our pastas (and everything else) before. Adapted from chef Andy Bennett and Rouge Tomate Chelsea. —Genius Recipes
(12g) olive oil
(100g) sliced spring onions or green onions
(20g) roughly chopped garlic
(200g) Creamy Cauliflower Sauce (from below)
dried pasta, (250g) cooked al dente pasta (from about 125g dry pasta—for the rigatoni we used, this was about 2 cups dry pasta)
(90g) fresh or frozen green peas, cooked in salted water
Scant, (10g) chopped flat-leaf parsley
(12g) finely grated Parmesan
Smoked sea salt, to taste (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
(4g) toasted breadcrumbs, or more to taste
Creamy Cauliflower Sauce
(200g) cauliflower florets (in roughly 1/2-inch pieces)
2 1/4 cups
(500g) vegetable stock or broth
(100g) olive oil
Salt to taste
In This Recipe
Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the spring onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until the onions and garlic are turning light golden. Add the sauce, pasta, and peas and heat everything through, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes.
Once hot, stir in the cheese and parsley, season with smoked salt and black pepper to taste and place in a serving bowl. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and serve immediately.
Creamy Cauliflower Sauce
In a medium saucepan, cover the cauliflower with vegetable stock and simmer, partially covered, until really tender, about 20 minutes. Blend the cauliflower and stock till smooth with a blender or hand blender. While the blender is running, slowly pour in olive oil to emulsify.
Store any leftovers airtight in the refrigerator and use as a creamy sauce, warm or cold.
Genius recipes surprise us and make us rethink cooking tropes. They're handed down by luminaries of the food world and become their legacy. They get us talking and change the way we cook. And, once we've folded them into our repertoires, they make us feel pretty genius too. Watch for new Genius Recipes every Wednesday morning on our blog, dug up by Food52's Senior Editor Kristen Miglore.