Cau­li­flower and cheese sauce is a clas­sic pair­ing for good rea­son. Add pasta and hazel­nuts, and you’ve got a hearty dish with tex­ture to boot.

Gourmet Traveller (Australia) - - Restaurant Awards -

Cau­li­flower and hazel­nut stroz­za­preti with Gor­gonzola

Cau­li­flower and cheese sauce is a clas­sic pair­ing for good rea­son, and it only gets bet­ter when pasta is added to the mix. We’ve opted for a crum­ble of pi­quant Gor­gonzola through­out, too .

Prep time 20 mins, cook 45 mins

Serves 4

2 tbsp olive oil

300 gm (about ½ head) cau­li­flower, cut into

flo­rets and thinly sliced

400 gm dried stroz­za­preti or other short pasta 40 gm but­ter, diced

40 gm plain flour

600 ml pour­ing cream

300 ml milk

120 gm pecorino, finely grated, plus ex­tra

for scat­ter­ing

3 tsp coarsely chopped thyme, plus ex­tra to serve

Pinch of finely grated nutmeg

60 gm Gor­gonzola pic­cante, crum­bled,

plus ex­tra to serve

40 gm coarsely chopped roasted hazel­nuts

1 Pre­heat oven to 180C. Heat oil in a large fry­ing pan over high heat and fry cau­li­flower in batches, turn­ing oc­ca­sion­ally, un­til golden brown, adding a lit­tle ex­tra oil to pan be­tween batches if nec­es­sary (4-5 min­utes).

2 Mean­while, cook pasta in a large saucepan of well-salted boil­ing wa­ter un­til not quite al dente (6-7 min­utes). Drain and re­turn to pan with 2 tbsp cook­ing wa­ter.

3 Melt but­ter in a saucepan over medium-high heat, add flour and stir un­til sandy. Bring cream and milk just to a sim­mer in a sep­a­rate saucepan, then, whisk­ing con­tin­u­ously, grad­u­ally add to flour mix­ture and whisk un­til smooth and thick­ened. Sea­son to taste. Whisk in pecorino, thyme and nutmeg, add to pasta along with cau­li­flower and Gor­gonzola and fold to com­bine. Trans­fer to an oiled 3-litre bak­ing dish, scat­ter with hazel­nuts and ex­tra pecorino, and bake un­til bub­bling and golden brown (25-30 min­utes). Scat­ter with ex­tra thyme and Gor­gonzola, and serve hot.

Wine sug­ges­tion Top-qual­ity chardon­nay.

Fusilli with greens, fen­nel and feta

All the won­der­ful flavours of spanako­pita make their way into this punchy baked pasta.

Prep time 20 mins, cook 40 mins

Serves 4-6 (pic­tured p102)

400 gm dried fusilli

70 ml olive oil, plus ex­tra for greas­ing 4 spring onions, thinly sliced

1 fen­nel bulb, diced, fronds re­served

400 gm sil­ver­beet (about 1 small bunch), half the stalks and leaves thinly sliced sep­a­rately

2 gar­lic cloves, finely chopped

1 bunch spinach, trimmed and thinly sliced Finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon, plus ex­tra wedges, to serve

150 gm ke­falo­graviera (see note), coarsely grated

120 gm crum­bled feta

½ cup coarsely chopped mint

½ cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf pars­ley ½ cup coarsely chopped dill

¼ tsp dried mint

4 sheets filo pas­try

Sesame seeds, for scat­ter­ing

20 gm melted but­ter

1 Pre­heat oven to 180C and lightly oil four 15cm-di­am­e­ter bak­ing dishes (or a large bak­ing dish if you pre­fer). Cook pasta in a large saucepan of well-salted boil­ing wa­ter un­til not quite al dente (8-10 min­utes). Drain, re­serv­ing 2 tbsp cook­ing wa­ter, and re­turn both to pan.

2 Mean­while, heat 2 tbsp oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add spring onion, fen­nel and sil­ver­beet stalks, and sauté un­til ten­der

(4-5 min­utes). Add gar­lic and stir un­til fra­grant, then add sil­ver­beet leaves and spinach, and sauté un­til just wilted (2-3 min­utes). Stir in lemon rind and juice, sea­son to taste, then add to pasta along with cheeses and herbs. Toss to com­bine, sea­son to taste and di­vide among bak­ing dishes.

3 Roll filo sheets to­gether into a cylin­der and slice into 1cm strips. Toss in a bowl to un­ravel, scat­ter with sesame seeds, driz­zle with but­ter and re­main­ing oil, and toss to coat. Scat­ter on top of pasta and bake un­til fill­ing is bub­bling and pas­try is golden (25-30 min­utes). Scat­ter with fen­nel fronds and serve hot with lemon wedges.

Note Ke­falo­graviera, a hard cheese made from sheep’s milk or a com­bi­na­tion of sheep and goat’s milk, is avail­able from select del­i­catessens. If it’s un­avail­able, sub­sti­tute pecorino.

Wine sug­ges­tion Bone-dry Greek as­syr­tiko.>

CAU­LI­FLOWER STROZ­ZA­PRETI Bowl from Coun­try Road. All other props stylist’s own. Stock­ists p175.

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