At 5:30 in the evening, I’m often sitting in the bleachers watching baseball practice instead of making dinner. During warmups, while some parents discuss a missed relay, I find myself dreaming up ideas for quick pasta sauces. My objective on these busy nights is to make a sauce in the time it takes to boil water and cook a package of pasta.
Last weekend, I steamed a head of cauliflower to accompany a roast chicken dinner. After steaming, I set aside about five large florets for leftovers and served the rest with a quick topping of toasted bread crumbs. I melted a couple of tablespoons of butter in a small skillet, stirred in about 1/3 cup dried bread crumbs and toasted until browned.
Before I left for the field, I had scanned the pantry shelves and found anchovies, currants and pine nuts. Who knows, maybe I was dreaming about a Mediterranean beach on a dark winter’s night, but this was the quick sauce I put together while the pasta cooked.
Morgan is author of “Cooking for the Week: Leisurely Weekend Cooking for Easy Weekday Meals.”
Place currants in small bowl, cover with wine and set aside to plump, about 10 minutes.
Bring large pot salted water to boil for pasta. Cook pasta until al dente, 10 to 15 minutes.
While pasta is cooking, heat large skillet over medium heat. Add pine nuts and toast, stirring frequently until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Set aside on plate. Add olive oil to skillet, and saute garlic until golden, about 1 minute. Add cauliflower and saute over medium-high heat, stirring often until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Add currants, wine, capers, anchovies, red pepper flakes and parsley. Simmer 2 minutes, add salt and pepper to taste, then remove from heat.
Drain pasta and place in warm serving bowl. Add cauliflower mixture and pine nuts, toss to combine. Serve immediately.
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