Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Crusty Baked Shells and Cauliflower

My friends O and T have been busting each other's chops about cauliflower lately. T thinks it is the most vile food on the planet, and O makes rice out of it (just stop!).

So I guess because it comes up a lot on Facebook, it was a keyword for pinterest. Or maybe because I eat it 2-4 times a week.  But seriously a recipe that is pretty much Mac and Cheese with added Cauliflower?  Yes please.  After looking at it, I knew it should have chicken because the only time I have ever liked capers was when chicken was involved.  I told D about this with the added chicken and he said ok.

It was a little on the dry side but still good.  Pretty much a really good casserole.  D, of course, added more capers to his portion.  And he added butter to the bread crumbs because bread crumbs on top a casserole need butter.  It wasn't really Weight Watcher friendly, but that's why they have those extra points that you can eat.

D said next time to get fresh ricotta instead of the stuff from the milk aisle.  OK.

We didn't have a side.

Crusty Baked Shells and Cauliflower

Photo by ALB

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten
Total:1 hr
Active: 30 min
Yield: 6 to 8 servings (we got 6)
Level: Easy

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 pound medium shells
Good olive oil (didn't use)
2 1/2 pounds cauliflower, cut into small florets (1 large head)
3 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh sage leaves
2 tablespoons capers, drained
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups freshly grated Italian Fontina Val d'Aosta cheese, lightly packed (10 ounces with rind)
1 cup (8 ounces) fresh ricotta
1/2 cup panko (Japanese bread flakes)
6 tablespoons freshly grated Italian Pecorino cheese
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
(added 1 TBSP of butter, melted)
(added 1 pound of 1-inch cut up chicken breast, cooked).

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Fill a large pot with water, add 2 tablespoons salt, and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook al dente, according to the instructions on the package. Since it will be baked later, don't overcook it! Drain and pour into a very large bowl.

Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large (12-inch) saute pan over medium-high heat, add half the cauliflower in one layer, and saute for 5 to 6 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the florets are lightly browned and tender. Pour the cauliflower, including the small bits, into the bowl with the pasta. Add 3 more tablespoons of oil to the saute pan, add the remaining cauliflower, cook until browned and tender, and add to the bowl.

Add the sage, capers, garlic, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon black pepper (and chicken) to the bowl and stir carefully. Stir in the Fontina. Transfer half of the mixture to a 10 x 13 x 2-inch rectangular baking dish. Spoon rounded tablespoons of ricotta on the pasta and spoon the remaining pasta mixture on top. Combine the panko, Pecorino, parsley, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil (used melted butter) in a small bowl and sprinkle it evenly on top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until browned and crusty on top. Serve hot.

18 Smart Points (my additions/subtractions at 6 servings)

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