This is adapted from a recipe I saw made on Guy Fieri’s show on Food Network. Every time I go to Exercare (for phase III of cardiac rehab), Food Network is playing on the TVs. This is amusing to me, as I’ve watched demonstrations of gruyere-bacon-potato tortes, ground pork lau lau, and all manner of desserts, sauces, and roasts that I can’t eat. But this one looked like it was healthy and tasty, and it was. Thanks Guy.
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets*
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon sliced garlic
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup chicken stock or vegetable stock
1 bunch fresh spinach (about 3 cups)
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
3 tablespoons capers, with 1 tablespoon juice
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 pound rigatoni
Bring a large stock pot of water to a boil over medium heat, then add the cauliflower. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saute pan, and saute the garlic and red pepper flakes for 1 minute. Remove the cauliflower from water with a large strainer and add it to the pan with the garlic-red pepper mixture. Saute until starting to brown (it took mine about 10 minutes). Deglaze the pan with the stock, add in the spinach, cover and let wilt for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and capers with juice and reduce the heat. Remove the cover and let simmer for 5 minutes.
Return the cauliflower water to boil, adding more water, if necessary, to cook the pasta. Add the pasta add cook to al dente. Remove the pasta from the water and add it to the pan with the sauce, adding a little pasta water, if needed.** Serve immediately with a little parmesan cheese, if desired.
* Before you dismiss this recipe because you don’t like cauliflower, know that pan-roasted cauliflower like this is nutty, sweet, and perfectly tender-crunchy. Absolutely delicious. Trust me on this one.
** To facilitate freezing the leftover sauce separately, just add a little more stock to your sauce to make it saucier, and then sauce each plate of pasta individually instead of tossing all together. One serving of sauce has just 83 calories, 3.5 grams of total fat, and 0.5 saturated.