Makes 6 first course servings.
Makes 4 main-course servings.
Since the main ingredient of this dish is available year-round, this recipe is one of my tried-and true standbys. I serve it warm or at room temperature depending on the season.
1 medium head cauliflower (about 2 pounds)
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves very finely chopped
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
½ cup pine nuts
Grated rind of 1 lemon
3-4 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup loosely packed oregano leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound imported ziti
Separate the cauliflower into very small florets and steam until al dente, about 3 minutes.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a wok, add the garlic, crushed red pepper and pine nuts. Sauté over low heat for a minute.
Remove to a plate.
Heat the rest of the oil in the wok. Add the steamed cauliflower and sauté over high heat, stirring frequently until the cauliflower is beginning to brown, about 3 minutes.
Lower the heat and add the sautéed garlic mixture, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano leaves, salt and pepper.
Bring 5 quarts of water in a large pot to a rolling boil. Add 2 tablespoons salt and all of the ziti. Stir and boil briskly, uncovered for about 6 minutes, until the pasta is al dente.
Drain well in a colander and combine with the cauliflower.
Season to taste with crushed red pepper lemon juice, salt and pepper.