Sunday, October 25, 2009

Whole Wheat Penne with Red Sauce, Steamed Cauliflower and Gremolata

My post tonight is more of a concept than a recipe. I wasn’t in the mood to make a complicated dinner or to weigh and measure ingredients this afternoon.

Since my parents were coming for dinner tonight I made a simple red sauce this afternoon because everyone likes pasta and red sauce. I lightly steamed a pound of cauliflower florets to add to the dish. Since the cauliflower is a little chunky I made a whole-wheat penne to more closely match the size of the vegetable. I cooked the pasta al dente to lower the glycemic index. Then I made a modified gremolata with 1 clove of minced garlic, the zest of a lemon, a ¼ cup of fresh minced parsley, a teaspoon of drained capers and a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. I topped the pasta, cauliflower and red sauce with the gremolata and added a sprinkle of toasted pine nuts when I served the dish. Fresh lemon juice was squeezed over the pasta just before serving.

When I am not in the mood to cook I frequently turn to pasta for dinner. Pasta is universally loved, and ridiculously quick and easy.

If you wanted a little more crunch on this pasta you can cook some whole wheat bread crumbs in a little olive oil with garlic until crunchy and top the pasta with that as you would use cheeze. Toasted breadcrumbs are a traditional topping for food in southern Italy.


  1. That pasta dish looks so amazing!!! You have just inspired me to try to make this. We have pasta all the time here but not a fancy one, only very easy style with store-bought sauce (so embarrassing to tell you this).

    Thanks for sharing such an inspiration!

  2. Oraphan,

    We have all bought commercial red sauce before, me included. Although I imagine my dead Italian relatives are spinning in their graves now at the thought.

    With a Southern Italian inspired dish like this I always add hot pepper flakes to the red sauce. Also, you add the gremolata at the very end and then toss the pasta just before serving so the it remains fresh when you eat it. The gremolata has more flavor raw.

    If you have any questions when you are making this let me know. I am happy to answer.


  3. Yum. I love pasta and cauliflower. You're right, you cannot go wrong with pasta and red sauce. I always think of that too when I'm not in the mood to cook. I must try the bread crumbs over the top.

  4. Rose,

    If you want to make the breadcrumbs taste more cheese-like you can add a little nutritional yeast to them after you finish toasting.

    hope you had a good weekend,

  5. That's a great idea...I'll do that next time.

  6. Alicia,

    Thanks so much for the tips, I'll give it a try very soon:)


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