Tuesday, March 24, 2009

totally vegged out: cavatelli w/ sausage & peppers over cauliflower "steaks"

a week of pigging out in the mid-west compounded by spring's imminent arrival has guilted me into a vegetarian lifestyle, at least for a bit. i go down this road every pre-spring in an attempt to jump-start my metabolism and shed that winter weight. i'm an omnivore at heart, but going veggie every now and again is great, especially during the warmer months when all sorts of produce are at their best.

i am also a strong proponent of cooking with meatless protein: tofu, seitan, tempeh, mock-meat - they might not taste like meat, but they offer enough texture, bulk, and flavor to create healthy meals that are delicious and filling. i used "Field Roast" vegan sausage in the following pasta recipe, and i was very pleased with the results, as were my guests.

the cauliflower steaks are something i caught wind of while working at Del Posto. they have the same flavor profile as roasted cauliflower florets, however, i find that the individual "steak" portions are more appealing to the eye and can help "beef up" an otherwise conservatively portioned plate.

Cauliflower Steaks

1 large head of cauliflower
canola oil, as needed
salt & pepper, to taste
extra virgin olive oil, as needed

- preheat the oven to 425.

1. cut 1-inch-thick slices of cauliflower, cutting through stem end; set aside on a sheet tray equipped with a cooling rack and season with salt & pepper.

2. heat about 1 TBS of CANOLA oil in a large saute pan until SCREAMING HOT; the oil will begin to shimmer. sear the cauliflower steaks until deep golden brown on the outside; about 4 minutes per side.

3. removed seared cauliflower to the sheet tray, finish them off in the oven until knife-tender; about 8-10 minutes. drizzle with olive oil and enjoy.

-- you will have a whole mess of cauliflower florets leftover from fabricating the "steaks", i suggest you use them to make a puree, or just enjoy them raw as a healthy snack.

Cavatelli w/ Sausage & Peppers

2 (13oz) packages of frozen cavatelli pasta

1 # broccoli florets
4 links vegetarian sausage
1 onion, grated or minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 roasted peppers, sliced
1 cup chicken stock
1 anaheim pepper, sliced on the bias
1 TBS fresh oregano or marjoram, chopped

salt & pepper, to taste
olive oil, as needed

1. bring a large pot of salted water up to a roiling boil. blanch broccoli florets until just tender; 3-5 minutes. shock the broccoli in iced water, drain and set aside. keep the water at a boil and cook the cavatelli according to the instructions printed on the package.

2. saute the onion in olive oil over medium-high heat, until lightly brown; 3-5 minutes. add sausage, cook until heated through.

3. add roasted peppers and garlic. saute until fragrant; ~2 minutes. add the broccoli and stock, cook until heated through; 2-3 minutes.

4. toss pasta and the saute veggies in a large bowl to combine. garnish with the fresh herbs, hot pepper and olive oil. serve over seared cauliflower steaks.

© 2009 c. c. villani @ "mission: insatiable" - http://missioninsatiable.com/

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