Subtitle: Adventures in Cauliflower Sauce!
I was describing the Chickpeas, Potatoes and Green Beans in Cauliflower Sauce to some friends when it hit me that Cauliflower Sauce could be the best thing to happen to fatfree cooking since the invention of non-stick pans. A sauce made from cauliflower could be flavored in any number of ways, not just with Indian seasonings. And a good, creamy sauce with no fat, no soy, no gluten, no “bad carbs,” and all cruciferous vegetable could be a very handy and healthy addition to many different types of recipes.
I decided to test out this theory last night. I cooked the cauliflower as I had before, but this time I used less water (the potatoes in the last recipe provided substantial thickening that I needed to compensate for) and instead of curry leaves, coriander, ginger, and garam masala, I cooked the cauliflower with garlic, oregano, and basil. After the sauce was blended and seasoned to my liking, I tossed it with some fettuccine and broccoli and topped the whole thing with some sautéed mushrooms.
Folks, we have a winner! At least to my family. My daughter E. was heading out the door to a friend’s house, but she couldn’t resist the sight of pasta simmering on the stove. I dished her up a plate, and she wolfed it down in record time. I had to promise her that there would be plenty of leftovers when she got back–and that I would add it to her Kid-Friendly list.
Fettuccine No-Fredo with Broccoli and Sautéed Mushrooms
The pureed cauliflower forms a light yet creamy sauce that moistens the pasta and broccoli, while the sautéed mushrooms add chewy texture and earthy flavor. Besides being a great way to sneak a vegetable into a meal, this just tastes good. Try it with your favorite blend of spices and let me know your results.
- 1 large head cauliflower, chopped into small pieces
- 2-4 cups water (use less if your cauliflower is small, more for extra-large cauliflowers)
- 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 to 2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 to 2 teaspoon dried oregano
- pinch cayenne pepper
- salt to taste
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- 1 1/2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 2 large Portabella mushrooms, sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/8 cup wine (I used white, but red will do)
- salt to taste
- 1 pound fettuccine
- 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
- Sauce: Using the lesser amounts of each seasoning, place the cauliflower and next 8 ingredients into a large saucepan and cook, covered, until the cauliflower is very soft, about 15 minutes. When it’s completely tender, use a blender to puree the cauliflower and water to a smooth sauce. (If you have a good hand blender, I recommend you do this in the pot.) Check the seasoning of the sauce, and add more to taste; add the nutritional yeast. Allow the sauce to simmer uncovered and thicken while you prepare the mushrooms and pasta.
- Sautéed Mushrooms: Heat a non-stick skillet brushed or sprayed with a little olive oil. Add the 2 cloves garlic and mushrooms, and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms begin to exude their juices. You can prevent them from drying out by keeping the skillet covered between stirrings. When the mushrooms get juicy, add the wine and salt to taste. Cook just until the wine is absorbed and then set aside, covered, until ready to serve.
- Pasta: Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the fettuccine and salt, if desired, and set a timer for 3 minutes less than the amount of time indicated on the package. When the timer goes off, add the broccoli and cook for three minutes, or until the pasta is al dente. (For my fettuccine, this meant I cooked it for 9 minutes, added the broccoli, and cooked it for 3 more.) Drain the pasta and broccoli and return it to the pan. Stir in the cauliflower sauce and serve topped with sautéed mushrooms.
Cooking time (duration): 45
Number of servings (yield): 8
Nutrition (per serving): 288 calories, 13 calories from fat, 1.5g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 67.8mg sodium, 865.5mg potassium, 56.9g carbohydrates, 6.7g fiber, 4.6g sugar, 13.7g protein, 5.1 points.
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