This Blue Kitchen post is by Marion Nowak.
It’s still not warm yet. And, although the weather folks are threatening above-average temperatures in the nearish future, I am sorry, but now it’s still just cold. When I went out this morning, I was wearing my little down jacket — little, and just a jacket, but still down.
And chez nous, we are in the midst of a huge, thrilling, scary, big project that we are not quite ready to talk about yet, which, at the end of every day, leaves us totally jangled and weary and out of time and prone to chills. So something simple and roasted and comforting is very welcome right now.
Those of you who’ve been with us for some time know how much we love cauliflower. And sausages. And olives. Sunday night, having been pulled through several knotholes backwards, we wanted them all, plus some pasta and tangy lemon juice. Mmm hmm.
Roasting the cauliflower, shallots and olives mellowed their respective flavors and allowed the andouille sausage to share its meaty goodness. It was also a great excuse to turn on the oven and warm the kitchen.
Fettuccine with Cauliflower, Andouille Sausage and Olives
3 cups little cauliflower florets (see Kitchen Notes)
2 shallots, peeled and halved
1 cup pitted green olives, halved
6 ounces andouille sausage, cut into coins (see Kitchen Notes)
4 tablespoons lemon juice (plus more, if needed)
about 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
8 ounces uncooked fettuccine
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil a baking sheet with olive oil. Toss the cauliflower florets with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and spread out on the sheet. Roast cauliflower in the middle of the oven until tender and golden brown, stirring occasionally, for about 30 to 35 minutes, stirring every 8 to 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, on another baking sheet, scatter the halved green olives, shallot halves and andouille sausage coins. Toss them in olive oil. Start a pot of salted water on the stove for the pasta.
3. After the cauliflower has been roasting for 15 minutes or so, slide in the baking sheet with andouille sausage, shallots and olives. The next time you stir the cauliflower, turn the sausages and stir the olives and shallots. The olives will be shrinking like mad. That’s OK.
4. Start cooking the fettuccine. When the fettuccine is ready, drain it, reserving half a cup of cooking water, and set aside in a colander.
5. Start a big, deep skillet on the stove with olive oil over medium flame. When the cauliflower is done roasting, take a look at the sausage. If it is not nicely browned, then put it in the skillet and brown it a little more — should just take a minute. Remove from pan to a small bowl along with the shallots. Put the olives in the pan and quickly sauté. They will pop and hop around in a very cute fashion. Also, they will shrink a bit more. At this point, they will be very tiny nubbins compared to their original size.
6. Add the sausage and shallots to the skillet. Then take the cauliflower out of the oven and add it to the skillet. Add the cooked fettuccine all at once and toss and stir everything together, adding a little more olive oil and at least 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water. Add the lemon juice and a little salt. Stir and toss it all together. Grate about 1/4 cup of Parmesan over all and taste. You may want to brighten it up a bit more with additional lemon juice and salt — go easy on the salt. If it seems dry, add a little more pasta water.
Plate and serve. That’s it.
Leftover cauliflower? If you buy the usual head of cauliflower, you won’t use it all for this dish. Save the rest of it for something else, like cauliflower soup or puréed cauliflower. Use it. It’s delicious and good for you.
Andouille sausage. Recently, we’ve had the pleasure of getting andouille sausage at the Butcher & Larder from Rob Levitt, formerly the chef of the late, lamented mado. But this weekend, Rob was out of andouille, yet we had a hankering for more. So we used Al Fresco smoked chicken andouille sausage, which we bought at a supermarket in the northwest suburbs, but which is made in Massachusetts. Commercial brands are maybe not as super as butcher shop sausages, but they can be pretty good, and we were happy with this brand. It pushed all the right comfort buttons.
Related post on Blue Kitchen: Roasted cauliflower and dill soup