Thursday, January 22, 2009

Pasta, vegetables and sausage...

Tonight's dinner, Farfalle with Cauliflower and Turkey Sausage, sounds like it might be a little fussy, but the preparation was a breeze and we didn't need to hover around, making for extra free time!

Rather than steaming the cauliflower and pan-frying the sausage needed for this pasta dish, we killed two birds with one stone by roasting both in the oven! And, even better, they were done in the same roasting pan to keep dish-count down. About 5 minutes before the lean hot Italian turkey sausages were fully cooked, we added a mess of sliced garlic cloves into the mix and let them roast a bit as well. To help the sausages keep their uniform shape, making for neat coin-like slices when cutting, prick the casings all over with a knife before they go into the oven so the juices have somewhere to go while baking.

While those ingredients were cooling, we had dropped a few cups worth of farfalle (you know, fancy bow tie pasta!) and let them cook just until al dente. Before draining them, scoop out two tablespoons of the starchy cooking liquid and set it side. Since there really isn't a sauce for this, we kept the pasta slick and moist by drizzling on extra-virgin olive oil - however, so we didn't have to pour it on, we cut it with that reserved pasta water. This will still give you the zest of the oil, but it also helps keep the fat down to a reasonable amount. The juiced-up pasta is then tossed with crushed red pepper for kick, the sausage coins, roasted cauliflower and garlic mixture along with a shower of pecorino Romano cheese.

With a sprinkle of fresh parsley for a pop of color, I think we woofed down our plates in record time! It is not like there was anything outrageously different here, but I think the ease of this dish by roasting the vegetables and sausages made it taste just that much better. Even with the slight 5 minute roasting time for the garlic, it allowed the slices to cook just enough to take away that harsh rawness and leave you with a mellow, sweet essence. If you want to tone the heat level down, use a sweeter turkey sausage and add just a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (try not to leave them out entirely as the background they add is pleasant, even if they doesn't scream "Yeah! I'm hot and spicy!"). If you or your family are not in agreement about the loveliness of cauliflower, swap half out for broccoli florets so you can pick and choose what you want.


  1. I would indulged in those farfalle. Looks so good.

  2. that sounds like a great meal :)
    love the blog,
    peony xxx

  3. Joe,
    Your recipes and photos are so awesome! While reading another food blog, I immediately thought of you! You should enter this contest!

  4. I love cauliflower with pasta! Never thought to roast the cauliflower. I'll make this, probably substituting mushrooms for the sausage..... I just saw orange cauliflower the other day in the store and figured I'd give it a try.....


  5. yum, i love dinners like these! and roasting cauliflower is sooooo good.

  6. Oh Man! This looks awesome! I have to stop at the grocery on my way home from work. I do believe I'll get the ingredients and make it this weekend.

  7. Great idea , roasting the cauliflower and sausage!

  8. I made this one a few weeks ago and I too liked the cauli and sausage roasting together. It lent a nice flavor to each and was really a yummy dish!

  9. Helene - Thanks!

    Cosmic - It was!

    TC - I'll check it out!

    Quinn - Jeff would never stand for that, but I'd love to try it with the mushrooms!

    Kickpleat - Roasted cauliflower is definitely a favorite around here...

    Betty - Awesome!

    Bunny - Thanks!

    Rebel - Glad others have given this great recipe a try... it is worth it!

  10. I made this for dinner the other night. We used broccoli instead but it really came out great. And it was super-easy - perfect for a weeknight meal. Thanks for bringing this to our attention! I'm no longer scared of sausage. :)

  11. Uhhh, YUM! I think my 15 mo. old son would LOVE this. (And I'm sure my husband and I won't be struggling to eat it, either! Ha!) I'm adding this to the grocery list this week.

  12. Michelle - Perfect! Thanks for giving it a try!

    Kelly Anne - Enjoy!