I’ve never been a fan of alfredo. Two bites and its richness makes my stomach mutiny. But a recipe for an “alfredo” sauce based around cauliflower rather than cream caught my eye a few days ago, and I haven’t been able to shake the idea since. After procuring a cauliflower at the farmers’ market, I was determined to try for myself. I ended up with a lovely “cream of cauliflower soup” that unfortunately made for a rather flavorless sauce, but with a little extra salt and pepper, bell pepper, cilantro, and roasted cauliflower on top, it was still a gorgeous and delicious meal! I always forget how much pasta and rice tend to mute the flavor of a dish. Definitely want to give this another shot sometime soon.
UPDATE (12/6/14): Haven’t yet tried making this as pasta sauce, but I’ve made it a few times now as a soup and it is truly exceptional!
Cauliflower “Alfredo” Sauce
1 head of cauliflower, broken into florets
1 cup water
Salt, pepper, cayenne, and Italian seasoning
Chopped bell pepper (optional)
Minced cilantro (optional)
Splash of milk or cream (optional)
Butter or olive oil (optional)
Grated or crumbled cheese, such as feta or parmesan (optional)
Preheat oven to 425ºF. At the bottom of a small saucepan, saute garlic in oil. Add half of the cauliflower and just enough water to cover and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, toss the other half of the cauliflower in oil and a little salt and pepper, and roast in the oven for about 12-15 minutes, or until beginning to soften and turn brown and crispy.
When cauliflower is tender, blend with cooking liquid. Pour back into the pan and season to taste. Aim for a fairly intensely flavored sauce, since the pasta will dilute the flavor significantly. You can also add a little milk or cream, butter or olive oil, or simmer it longer if it is too thin. Then mix it with cooked pasta and top it with the roasted cauliflower and any other garnishes you desire. Enjoy!