Your first question upon reading this recipe title is probably, "What the heck is broccoflower?" If you haven't already Googled it, broccoflower describes two different brassicas—fractaled Romanesco broccoli and bright green rounded cauliflower. Either of these will work in Deborah Madison's simple pasta recipe in her newly re-released cookbook, The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. If you can't find the neon vegetable (I couldn't), plain 'ol white cauliflower will work just fine. Just be sure to keep the tarragon, parsley, olive, and cheese intact. The salty and fragrant assemblage of ingredients is a fine foil to the meaty cauliflower, which flakes and falls into the spirals of fusilli. It makes for a rapid, distinctive weeknight dinner not to be ignored.
Why I picked this recipe: Myriad combinations of pasta, vegetables, and cheese are weeknight staples in my house; still, I never would have thought to try this mix of ingredients.
What worked: The chopped green olives were the biggest surprise here—briny, meaty pieces that hum harmoniously with the tarragon and cauliflower.
What didn't: Madison indicates that this recipe can be made sans cheese for a vegan option, but I found that the dish was a little flat without the cheese.
Suggested tweaks: You can use a large cauliflower in place of the broccoflower. Any small, sturdy pasta shapes will work in place of the fusilli like rotelle, penne, or farfalle.
Reprinted with permission from The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison. Copyright 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.
- Yield:Serves 4 to 6
- Active time: 20 minutes
- Total time:20 minutes
- 1 large head broccoflower, cauliflower, or a mixture
- 1 bunch scallions, including most of the greens, thinly sliced
- 1 bunch parsley, stems removed, leaves finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped tarragon
- 1/2 cup pitted and chopped Spanish green olives
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 pound fusilli, rotelle, or other sturdy pasta
- Sea salt and freshly milled pepper
- Coarsely grated ricotta salata, optional
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cut the cauliflower into small florets, then peel and dice the stems. Salt the water, add the cauliflower, and boil until partially tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Scoop the cauliflower into a large bowl and add the scallions, herbs, olives, and oil. Cover to keep warm.
Cook the pasta in the salted boiling water, then drain, add it to the bowl, and toss well. Taste for salt and season with pepper. Add the cheese, toss again, and serve.