Excerpts from Travel Journal: Nesting Instinct by LeAnn :
I took my first solo trip to Italy a few years back. I spent six weeks in a one bedroom “appartamento” in a 14th century castle in a beautiful hilltop village south of Florence. Though I was there to write, relax and explore (all very pleasant activities to be sure) what I enjoyed as much or more than anything was setting up house and making that little place my own.
…Once everything was neat and tidy, I opened up a bottle of wine and with the centuries-old stone walls glowing in the candle light, I set to work creating my first pasta dish of the trip…
Pennoni Rigati con Cavolfiore (Short Pasta with Cauliflower)
- 1 medium cauliflower
- 2 cups milk
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/2 cup flour
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
- 1 1/4 lb pennoni, rigati, tortiglioni or other short pasta
1. Bring a large pan of water to a boil. Wash the cauliflower well and separate into florets. Boil the florets until they are just tender, about 8-10 minutes. Remove them from the pan with a strainer or slotted spoon. Chop the cauliflower into bite-size pieces and set aside. Do not discard the cooking water.
2. Make a béchamel sauce by gently heating the milk with the bay leaf in a small saucepan. Do not let it boil. Melt the butter in a medium heavy saucepan. Add the flour and mix it in well with a wire whisk, ensuring there are no lumps. Cook for 2-3 minutes, but do not let the butter burn.
3. Strain the hot milk into the flour and butter mixture all at once and mix smoothly with the whisk.
4. Bring the sauce to a boil, stirring constantly and cook for 4-5 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper. Add the cheese and stir over low heat until it melts. Stir in the cauliflower.
5. Bring the cooking water back to a boil. Add salt and stir in the pasta. Cook until it is al dente. Drain and tip the pasta into a warm serving bowl. Pour over the sauce. Mix well and serve at once.
As always, I recommend using the freshest, cleanest, most ethically grown ingredients available. We vote with every dollar we spend. Please join me in supporting only those those growers/suppliers/vendors who care about our health and the health of our planet.