Fettuccine w/ Cauliflower Pesto

One of my favorite memories when I was little would have to be when my Mom would let my sister Melissa and I put food coloring in our mashed potatoes.  We could choose any color and do it ourselves.  Any of you  who know my mom probably don’t find this surprising.  Mom LOVES color.  She even has a Pinterest Board called “Rainbow” which I just love.  It’s obvious where I come from.

Directly from the Rainbow Pinterest page... don't you wish these existed, I do!

Directly from the Rainbow Pinterest page… don’t you wish these existed, I do!

Remember how gross these were??

Remember how gross these were??

Some fake colored food looks gross like the ketcup, but this Ice Cream is calling my name!

Some fake colored food looks gross like the ketcup, but this Ice Cream is calling my name!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mom didn’t let us color our taters because it was more fun of course, she did it because it made us eat our dinner!  Another favorite trick for this was Mom’s veggie dipping sauce.  The magical sauce made from fat free sour cream, a little bit of mayo, parm, garlic, salt and pepper made my sister and I eat all of our green veggies every night.

What kind of tricks do you use to get your kids to eat right?  What do you remember your mom doing?

Today’s trick is my new favorite way to get Cauliflower into the mix… and it’s not cauliflower mash- that’s just so 5 years ago.

Fettuccine w/ Cauliflower Pesto

Ingredients:

1 small head or 1/2 large head Cauliflower, trimmed, cored, and cut into chunks

3 cloves Garlic

1/8 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes (large pinch)

1/2 cup Almonds, toasted and cooled

2oz Parmesan Cheese (plus more for serving)

1/2 jar Sun-Dried Tomatoes, chopped (I used trader joe’s which are strips, packed in oil.  Make sure you rinse the oil off very well)

1 Tablespoon Drained Capers

3 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley

1/3 cup Olive Oil

1/2 – 1 teaspoon White Wine Vinegar

1lb box of Fettuccine (I used whole wheat)

Directions:

1.  Prepare pesto.  Pulse 1/2 the cauliflower chunks in a food processor until it looks like couscous.  Transfer to a bowl and repeat with the second batch adding to the bowl when done.  You should have 3.5 cups of fluffy cauliflower bits.  

2.  Pulse the garlic, pepper flakes, almonds, cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, and parsley in the food processor until the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs.  You may have to stop a few times and stir.  Add to the bowl with the cauliflower.  Add the olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar, a few pinches of salt, and stir until combined.  Taste and adjust seasoning, adding vinegar if necessary.  I had to add salt and some black pepper.  

3.  Cook the pasta.  Heat a very large pot of highly salted water and bring to a boil.  Add pasta and cook until al dente (check box for timing).  When you drain the pasta, reserve a cup or so of the cooking water.  

4.  Assemble the dish!  Toss the hot pasta with the cauliflower pesto and half of your reserved pasta water.  If the pesto looks too thick, add more pasta water.  Top with some additional Parmesan cheese when serving.  Enjoy!

Recipe barely adapted from:  Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

This is what your cauliflower should look like after you pulse it in the food processor.

This is what your cauliflower should look like after you pulse it in the food processor.

Now it's time to mix the rest of the ingredients.

Now it’s time to mix the rest of the ingredients.

Not going to win any awards for being the prettiest, but here is the pesto mixed together and ready to be added to my hot pasta or some crusty bread.

Not going to win any awards for being the prettiest, but here is the pesto mixed together and ready to be added to my hot pasta or some crusty bread.

P1020024

Cauliflower Pesto

This pasta had so many tasty flavors and textures.  I just loved the crunch from the bigger pieces of almonds that wouldn’t pulse any smaller.  Along with the nutty taste from the almonds and olive oil, the sun-dried tomatoes, capers, and parm cheese left little room for the pasta to taste like cauliflower.  It all just worked so well together that you would never know there was a whole head of cauliflower in there!

While I rarely cook for enough people to make an entire box of pasta, I did cook enough to have some leftovers.  Dave and I enjoyed this pasta without reheating it the next day for lunch.  We also took Deb’s advice and saved some of our large batch of Cauliflower Pesto and spread it on top of some cut up crusty bread the next day.  What a great use of leftovers!

I’m so loving Deb’s Smitten Kitchen cookbook.  Here are a few more of her recipes that I’ve tried out so far…

Sweet and Sour Brisket

Sweet and Sour Brisket

Shaved Asparagus Pizza w/ a Cauliflower Crust

Shaved Asparagus Pizza w/ a Cauliflower Crust

Berry Coconut Macaroons

Berry Coconut Macaroons

 

 

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