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Roasted Cauliflower & Cabbage Pasta with Fried Capers and Cheddar (K favourite)

kept byBluemuse
recipe byThe Kitchn

The other night, contemplating how best to discuss cheese within the confines of our pasta-themed week at The Kitchn, I envisioned a cheddar-laden dish. Forget the parm or the pecorino, I thought. How would cheddar be in pasta?

The answer, I can assure you, is worthy of a writeup. As is the recipe, which makes cheddar sing.

Pasta and parm go together so seamlessly, it seems silly to even question using any other cheese as a finisher. Cheddar with pasta doesn't exactly seem like a logical fit, regardless of my love of both. But considering my proclivity towards all things cheddar, I'm surprised I've never thought to try it out. Cheddar melts beautifully, and if you buy an aged version, it's even more complex. A farmhouse cheddar would be delicious in this, too: slightly more earthy and savory.

I thought of trying something simple like Cacio e Pepe with cheddar instead of pecorino, to really highlight the cheddar on its own, with no embellishments. But cheddar has that bright milky sharpness-- that thing unique to cheddar and cheddar alone — and I wanted to develop a pasta recipe that would incorporate other elements to complement that.

So then I started thinking about cabbage.

Cabbage is a seriously underutilized pasta partner. Sautéed in butter and tossed with noodles and copious amounts of lemon and cheese is one of the best ways to enjoy the vegetable. Especially if you can find a Savoy.

It's almost Irish in nature, the cabbage and cheddar combination. And the cabbage made me think of cauliflower—roasted, more specifically—which kind of fit in with the Irish theme, too. I guess you could think of this pasta as Irish fusion, or at the very least, as an ode to brassicas.

Because I love cheddar with briny things like olives, and because cauliflower and capers are such natural friends, fried capers seemed like a perfect way to finish it all off. And finish it, we did.


Serves 4
1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 head cauliflower, trimmed, cored, and cut into small-sized florets
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 medium head Savoy cabbage (about 1 lb.), cored and thinly sliced
1 large shallot, sliced
3 sprigs thyme
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup large capers, drained, rinsed, and patted dry
1/2 pound pasta, such as orecchiette
2 cups coarsely grated sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley



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