Recipes for Health: Spaghetti With Roasted Cauliflower, Tomato Sauce & Olives
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Ms. Shulman has been creating vegetarian recipes for over 30 years and she developed many of the recipes used by Dr. Dean Ornish in his diet & disease reversal books. I'm a very finicky cook--I want lots of flavor--lots of variety--and I don't want things too complicated. Martha Rose Shulman is now my Go-To-Gal-For-Gourmet-Vegetarian-Grub.
Roast the cauliflower the night before--and roast a whole one, not a half. It's delicious and not at all like the steamed or microwaved versions, which I'm not too fond of. This will cut your prep time in half. And the left-over roasted cauliflower is great on salads or as a side. Frankly, I think this is the only way I'd eat the stuff--not counting Obama's Kansan Macaroni and Cheese.
What's so good about cauliflower?
It's loaded with compounds like indoles and sulforaphanes, which are potent cancer fighters. The sulforaphanes were first identified in broccoli sprouts by researchers at Johns Hopkins University--they're super-charged antioxidants and stimulate the body's natural detoxifying enzymes in the liver.
Spaghetti With Roasted Cauliflower, Tomato Sauce & Olives
1/2 medium head of cauliflower, broken into florets (I roast an entire head--and do it the night before)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided (Yes, I use the oil--I think it improves the roasting)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, to taste (I like lots of spice & heat, so I use 1/2 tsp. & it has kick!)
1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes, with juice (use a tad more if you want more of a "saucy" result--it might be nice to have about 6 extra ounces of tomatoes on hand)
Pinch of sugar
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and freshly ground pepper
12 kalamata olives, pitted and cut in half lengthwise (this is a must-no substitutions)
3/4 pound spaghetti (I use Barilla Plus Angel Hair-4 grams of fiber & tastes great--but 3/4 lbs. is a little too much pasta for the amount of sauce that the recipe makes)
2 ounces either feta (crumbled), ricotta salata, Parmesan, or a mix of Parmesan and Pecorino (grated) (the dish can easily stand alone, without cheese if you want a vegan dish)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil and add the cauliflower. Blanch for two minutes and transfer to a bowl of ice water. (Don't get put off by the blanching process--it's really not a big deal) Drain and blot dry. Cover the pot; you’ll use the water again for the pasta. Quarter the cauliflower florets, toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and salt generously. Transfer to a baking sheet, place in the oven and roast 30 minutes, stirring from time to time, until tender and lightly browned. Remove from the oven and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, in a wide, nonstick frying pan or a 3-quart saucepan, heat the remaining oil over medium heat and add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about one minute. Add the tomatoes, sugar, thyme and salt, and bring to a simmer. Simmer over medium-low heat, stirring often, until thick, 15 to 20 minutes. (Add more tomatoes or even a little water if you want a little more liquid--just not too much!) Stir in the cauliflower and the olives, and simmer a few minutes more. Taste and adjust seasonings.
3. Bring the water back to a rolling boil. Add the spaghetti and cook until the pasta is al dente, usually about 10 minutes. Drain and toss with the cauliflower-tomato mixture. Sprinkle the cheese over the top and serve at once.
Yield: Serves 4
Advance preparation: The recipe can be made through step 2 as far ahead as one day. Keep in the refrigerator overnight, or on the stove for a few hours. I recommend pre-roasting the cauliflower the night before--then you can quickly finish the recipe after work--really!Note: Cauliflower roasted in this way is delicious as a side dish on its own.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Q: What about reducing oil in recipes?
A: ...when I approach a recipe that calls for a generous amount of oil, I always ask myself if I can make an authentic-tasting version using a little less fat than the recipe calls for. If a recipe calls for 4 tablespoons of oil, I try to make the dish with 2 tablespoons...
Q: Your recipes often call for using a non-stick skillet at medium heat. I thought you were only supposed to use non-stick cookware at low heat.
A: The weight of the skillet is significant. I use a heavy Anolon non-stick skillet, and do not heat it for a long time with nothing in it. The nonstick surface does not change over medium-high heat and I’ve never had a problem with the surface peeling.
Q: As a vegetarian I'm always falling back on packaged fake-meat products, like crumbles, strips & deli. I'd like to come up with some new meal alternatives that won't be as processed. Any suggestions?
A: The best way to get away from the packaged products is to begin to cook. I believe that fake-meat products are just another form of processed food, and that they are not particularly healthful. The best thing about vegetarian food is the food itself – produce, grains, beans, good dairy products. With Recipes for Health, my goal is to provide you with lots of satisfying and simple ways to prepare these foods.
Q: I want to cook healthier meals, but I work full-time & go to school and by the time I get home at 10 p.m. I'm way too tired to cook. Help!
A: More than “quick cooking,” I think the key to easy healthy cooking is stocking your kitchen and pantry with a few food items. If you can get a couple of routines down, it will be easier to slap together a healthy supper when you get home from work at 10 p.m. See: Staples for a Healthy Kitchen Pantry: Tips from NYT's Mark Bittman and the Healthy Librarian.
If you can make a trip to the market once a week and buy salad greens, some vegetables that you like and eggs, you’ll have the fixings for a quick dinner. Wash and dry the salad greens and seal them in a plastic bag so they’re ready to toss; steam or roast enough vegetables for two or three days so that you don’t have to cook them when you get home from work; and make enough salad dressing for the week.
A main dish salad is one of my most frequent fall-backs when I’m pressed for time or it’s late and I’m hungry and tired. You can add many substantial foods to make a salad a meal — canned beans or tuna, boiled eggs, grains and cheese. Steam a pot of rice or other grains, like quinoa or barley; cooked grains will keep for three to four days in the refrigerator, and you can easily heat them in a microwave or throw them into salads.If there’s a day when you’re home and do have an extra hour, make a pot of beans or a pot of soup that will last the week. Scrambled eggs are my most frequent late-night dinner; a delicious and nutritious meal, especially if you’ve got some vegetables and/or a salad to serve on the side. Click here for the rest of the article. Take a look at "It's All About Preparation. My Smoothie, Soup, Salad, Single Dish Supper Diet"
in "The Last Noodle Standing" April 26, 2009
Hey, I usually opt for something with whole grain that also tastes good, like Barilla Plus, but according to the experts, Barilla is not a fave!
"The results were surprising, to say the least: The 99-cent underdog from Trader Joe’s triumphed, edging out the pricey artisanal competition. Most surprising of all perhaps was the poor showing of the mid-priced Setaro, which is highly touted by just about every top Italian chef in town, present company included. “No flavor at all,” is how Schirripa put it. “Like eating paper.”
99 cents a pound
Cheapest of the bunch, and best in show. Canora praised it for its “great aroma and nutty, malty flavor” Ladner called it a “great performer.” “Not bad at all,” said Schirripa.
$6.50 for 17.6 ounces at Dean & DeLuca
Neck and neck with Trader Joe's for texture and sauce-gripping ability, only lost the flavor race by one point. “Pulita!” exclaimed Casella, which means “clean” or something like that in Italian.
$8 for 17.6 ounces at Marlow and Daughters
Ladner liked the texture, not the flavor. Schirripa demurred: “I’d love a big bowl of this with some meatballs and sausage.”
$8 for 17.6 ounces at Dean & DeLuca
This acclaimed artisanal brand scored high in the sauce-absorbing department. Ladner, Casella and Schirripa liked the flavor well enough, but Canora said it tasted “cardboardy.”
$8.79 for 17.6 ounces at Garden of Eden
Good scores for flavor, middling ones for texture. Schirripa surmised that it was a “cheap brand.” Little did he know.
$6.95 for 35 ounces at BuonItalia
Big surprise here in that only Casella gave it high marks, succinctly stating on his scorecard: “I like.” The best the others could muster was “not terrible.”
$1.79 a pound at D’Agostino’s
America's most popular pasta was far less so among our panel in every way. Schirripa liked the flavor, but admitted that to him “even an old shoe would taste good with butter and Parmesan.”
$1.99 a pound at DiPalo’s
Poor Rummo elicited the lowest scores and harshest comments (“overall crappy,” “yucky gummy,” “a shit pasta”) and rendered Ladner almost speechless. “No like much,” he wrote on his scorecard.