When it comes to simple down-home cooking, this is my go-to dish. Or, I should say: went-to. I used to make this ALL the time before I got together with Bruce and he asked me NEVER to make cauliflower. Like all good things that eventually come to an end, so went the ban on cauliflower when I was so sick of broccoli, threw caution to the wind and bought a head. I knew I had to use my wayward action wisely—no steaming, or even roasting on this maiden voyage—and I immediately thought of this pasta, which had worked its magic (who’d think this would be a great combo?) many a time during my early (read, young) cooking days in New York. Bruce always loves sausage, Emma loves pasta any which way…and I thought I’d throw in a bit of mozzarella for good measure. It worked! Now, I actually get requests for this dish…and I’ve ventured into roasting, which went over well, too.
Moral? Here’s what I took away: Don’t listen to your husband…always….
4 T olive oil
1 head of cauliflower, broken into small florettes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. Italian sausage (I prefer “hot”)
1 lb. fusilli
2 oz. mozzarella, shredded, for garnish; optional
Toasted pine nuts, for garnish; optional
Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the cauliflower and when it starts to brown, toss in the garlic and cook for 3 minutes or so. Add the sausage, and cook, stirring until well combined.
Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package instructions.
While the pasta is cooking, turn heat to low under the cauliflower mixture and continue stirring and breaking down with a spoon until it resembles a ragout.
When the pasta is finished, drain and add to the ragout. Toss well, turn onto a serving platter. Sprinkle with grated mozzarella and/or toasted pine nuts.