Monday, March 12, 2012

5 meals under $50: Cauliflower Puttanesca

Let's kick off the "5 Meals under $50" week with a spicy start!  Since it is Monday, I'm also bringing you a meatless meal.  This Cauliflower Puttanesca will definitely find its way onto my menu again.  It is spicy and delicious.  I may also just skip the pasta for a delicious cauliflower side dish.  When I first planned my menu for the 5 under $50 week, I was a bit nervous.  I watched anxiously as the cashier rang up my groceries, totally expecting to go over budget.  Then I came in way under budget!  Then I started to make the pasta and was totally skeptical.  But... then I ate the pasta and was blown away by how delicious it was!  It was such a relief!  The rest of the week, as you will soon see, was also delicious.  My mom asked whether I felt like I was eating the same thing all week, and the answer is "no."  Everything was different and so good too!  So, print out the shopping list and double check your pantry.  Then stay tuned for the rest of the recipes.

Note:  If you feel like you need some protein, add some white kidney beans (or Canellini beans) to the recipe at the same time that you add the tomatoes.  I think I might try that the next time I make this!

Cauliflower Puttanesca
Adapted from Serious Eats
Serves: 2*
Time: 25 minutes

1/2 pound penne or other short pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 of a head cauliflower, broken into small florets
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 of a 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, crushed
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more or less depending on your preference)
salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the pasta until al dente.

In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cauliflower and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and well-caramelized, 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper, cook for an additional minute until the garlic is fragrant.

Add the crushed tomatoes with their juices and the olives. Continue cooking until the cauliflower is soft, but not mushy, about 5 minutes more. Taste and season with salt and pepper (you probably won't need much salt).

Add the cooked pasta to the cauliflower mixture and toss to combine.

*This recipe actually made enough for 3 servings for me, though if you are a guy, it will probably be closer to 2 servings.

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