Serious Eats: Recipes

Dinner Tonight: Orecchiette with Braised Kale and Cauliflower

[Photograph: Blake Royer]

I only occasionally pull out Suzanne Goin's Sunday Supper at Lucques because the recipes are all a little daunting. Usually I spend half the time simplifying her steps, which are clearly taken from a restaurant setting rather than aimed at the home cook. But as complicated as as they seem, all the recipes sound intoxicating. They have big, comforting flavors rooted in the best produce of the season, based in Italian-influenced Mediterranean cooking, and the whole book is modeled after a tradition of family-style dinners at her California restaurant. The recipes have that same communal feel. For me, cooking doesn't get any better.

My favorite ones succeed because they pay so much attention to each element to maximize its flavor—they elevate simplicity to greatness. In this case, kale is braised with rosemary and chile, while florets of cauliflower are cooked separately with anchovies and more chile until they are sweet and golden. It all combines with currants, pine nuts and bread crumbs and chewy orecchiette pasta, which is unusually sautéed in the pan to slightly crisp up. It's all worth the effort, a dish that represents the best things about eating pasta.

About the author: Blake Royer founded The Paupered Chef with Nick Kindelsperger, where he writes about food and occasional travels. After a year in Estonia, he's now living in Chicago.

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