Farfalle Aglio e Olio with Charred Cauliflower & Breadcrumbs

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I’ve been craving a lot of charred cauliflower lately. I’ve been adding it to pasta dishes, salads and also just eating it by itself as a snack with some lime juice on the side. I love simple pasta dishes like aglio e olio. Adding charred cauliflower and spicy breadcrumbs, are nice little extras that give some more bite to the dish.  They say toasted breadcrumbs are the poor man’s parmesan but I don’t think there is anything poor about it. Toasted in olive oil with some salt, already adds a nice taste and if you want more, you can add any kind of herbs. It’s crunchy, salty goodness. An easy vegetarian dish, perfect for a weeknight dinner!

This recipe serves 3.

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Ingredients:

For the cauliflower:

1 cauliflower, cut into florets, then thinly sliced

2 tablespoons of olive oil

Salt

Pepper

For the breadcrumbs:

3 slices of toasted bread

Dried chili flakes, to taste

3 tablespoons of olive oil

Salt

For the pasta:

400gr of farfalle pasta

1/3 cup of olive oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

Salt

Pepper

For the toppings:

1 bunch of parsley, chopped

Zest of 2 lemons

Juice of ½ a lemon

 

Place the cauliflower slices in a bowl, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Then place it on a pan, over medium-high heat. Cook until the cauliflower gets charred, stirring from time to time. This will take about 7 minutes. Set aside.

While the cauliflower is getting charred, cook the pasta as instructed on the package.

To make the breadcrumbs, place the toasted bread in the food processor. Pulse until you get crumbs. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to a pan, over medium heat. Place the breadcrumbs, add salt and dried chili flakes to taste. Cook until the breadcrumbs get a golden color. Set aside.

Add 1/3 of a cup of olive oil to a pan, over medium heat. Add the minced garlic cloves. Cook for a minute or 2 until the garlic becomes fragrant. Then add the cooked pasta, charred cauliflower, salt, pepper and toss to combine. Finish it by adding the parsley, lemon zest and lemon juice. Mix it well. Taste for salt and pepper.

Divide the pasta into 3 plates and top each plate with some of the breadcrumbs.

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Cauliflower Fried ‘Rice’ with sweet pickled daikon

fixedThis  is a very good and tasty alternative if you are trying to cut back on carbs. I love to eat fried rice with sweet pickled daikon radish. When I was a kid, a plate of thinly sliced pickled daikon with just a bit of chili to give it a kick would be the first thing they would put on the table at any Chinese restaurant in Peru. Nowadays they don’t do it anymore, or they have it sliced too thick and some don’t even have it on the menu anymore. So my mom started making it at home, and now so have I.

Ingredients:

1 cauliflower

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 yellow bell pepper, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

2 spring onions, chopped

1 big carrot, shredded

2 cups of bean sprouts

2 cups of sugar snaps, chopped

2 tablespoons of grated ginger

1 bird’s eye chili, minced

1 clove of garlic, minced

2 tablespoons of oyster sauce

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

1 tablespoon of ginger syrup

1 teaspoon of sesame oil

1/3 of a teaspoon of Chinese five-spice powder

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

1 tablespoon of white sesame seeds (optional)

1 tablespoon of black sesame seeds (optional)

For the pickled daikon radish:

1 medium daikon radish

2 cups of white vinegar

1 cup of sugar

1 bird’s eye chili, chopped

2 teaspoons of salt

To make the pickled daikon, first peel it. Then slice it as finely as you can or use a mandolin. You can use a glass jar or even a plastic container. Mix the vinegar, sugar, chili and salt. Try to dissolve the sugar as much as possible. Then add the sliced daikon, give it a good stir, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or even better overnight. You can keep it for about a week.

To make the rice, remove the core from the cauliflower and then grate the florets. You can also just place it in the food processor and pulse until it has a rice like consistency.

In a pan add the vegetable oil and cook the grated ginger with the chili for a couple of minutes. Then add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the cauliflower rice, the five-spice powder and stir fry for a few minutes. Then add all the vegetables, oyster sauce, soy sauce, ginger syrup and sesame oil. Stir fry for a couple of minutes.  Sprinkle the sesame seeds and serve with the pickled daikon.