Ziti with Tuscan-Style Cauliflower
We call all vegetables cooked in this manner "Tuscan-style," fitting, as I learned this blanch-free method in Faith Willinger's Florentine kitchen, perhaps one of the most Tuscan in Italy.
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
1/2 bunch fresh mint, leaves only
1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 heads of cauliflower, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 pound ziti
Pecorino Romano, for grating
1. Bring about 6 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons of salt.
2. In a 12- to 14-inch sauté pan, heat the olive oil over high heat until almost smoking. Add the onion, mint, red pepper flakes, and garlic, and sauté over medium-high heat until the garlic is just golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the cauliflower and cook until tender, about 7 minutes.
3. Cook the ziti in the boiling water according to the package directions, until tender yet al dente. Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the cauliflower. Toss over high heat for 1 minute, then divide the pasta evenly among four heated bowls, grate Pecorino over each bowl, and serve immediately.
Excerpted from The Babbo Cookbook by Mario Batali. Copyright © 2002 by Mario Batali. Excerpted by permission of Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.