Makes 4 servings
Without the pasta, this makes a good vegetable side dish and without the prosciutto, it makes a delicious vegetarian or vegan dish. However you make it, do seek out the chipotle cocoa walnuts from Rancho La Vina, they add an extremely flavorful note to this dish. If you can’t find them, use toasted walnuts and add some red pepper flakes and some cocoa nibs or a sprinkling of cocoa powder.
- 3⁄4 cup penne pasta (or other pasta shape)
- 1 head of cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces
- Olive oil or walnut oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1⁄2 cup walnuts, preferably chipotle cocoa walnuts,
- coarsely chopped
- 1⁄4 cup Italian parsley, chopped
- 1–2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto or 1⁄4 cup pitted
- and chopped green olives
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Walnut oil, for garnish
In a large pot of boiling water, cook the pasta according to package directions or until al dente. Drain and reserve a cup of the cooking water.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-high heat, sauté the cauliflower in some olive or walnut oil. If you use walnut oil, keep the heat on medium. After a couple minutes, add a little salt, turn down the heat and cover. Cook an additional 7–10 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender and a little browned. If the pan gets too dry, add a little pasta water.
When the pasta and the cauliflower are done, add the drained pasta to the pan of cauliflower, along with the garlic, walnuts, parsley and prosciutto (or olives). Toss to combine and add just enough of the reserved pasta cooking water to moisten it and give it a sauce consistency. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve with a little walnut oil drizzled on top.