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by on October 31st, 2012

Pasta with Purple Cauliflower and Walnut Cream Sauce

What a beautiful dish and my favorite color – – purple.

Purple is absolutely my favorite color; throw in some lime green and you have the colors of our wedding 43 years ago and I still love those colors. Throw in a little pink and a whole lot of black and that’s the color of my closet. Hey, and it looks like purple is suppose to be a HOT color for fall. At least, my color is in style even though my clothes are not.

I was thumbing through some of my old food magazines the other day and saw a recipe for cauliflower and carrot pickles. Now, I can’t say that made me want to jump up and go buy some purple cauliflower to pickle but I did want to try to come up with a dish using this beautiful purple vegetable. I almost made this purple cauliflower and carrot dish but decided it was too boring because all I was going to do was steam the vegetables, mix them together and throw in some toasted sunflower seeds.  Then I decided that a pasta dish would be perfect for fall and a walnut cream sauce with Rosemary, sage, and thyme just the thing to hold it together.

So when I saw this purple cauliflower at the market the other day I had to buy it. This purple wasn’t going to hang in my closet, it was going to be eaten. I have always thought of cauliflower as a boring vegetable; but since making my Cauliflower Mash with Kale and this recipe, I have changed my views on this beautiful versatile vegetable which can be steamed, mashed, roasted with some olive oil, fried and served raw in a salad. What more could you ask for in a vegetable.

Purple cauliflower has the same antioxidants (anthocyanins) that can also be found in red cabbage and red wine. Cauliflower is low in fat and carbs but high in fiber, folate and vitamin C.

Leftover chicken from the freezer came in handy.

What a beautiful color.

Saute the walnuts until brown and then throw in the shallots and garlic, sage and rosemary.

Next throw in the mushrooms and chicken and the thyme. Stir in the wine and cream next.

Boil pasta in salted water until al dente.

Toss in the spaghetti and the Parmesan cheese.

Add the cauliflower and stir until hot.

Pasta with Purple Cauliflower and Walnut Cream Sauce

1 head purple cauliflower
1 lb. pasta shape of your choice, I used spaghetti
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 c. chopped walnuts, extra for garnish
1 tsp. garlic
1 large shallot
5-6 fresh sage leaves
1/2 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
1 c. mushrooms, sliced or chopped
2 c. cooked chicken, chopped, optional
1/2 c. white wine
1 c. heavy cream
dash of nutmeg
1/2-3/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Cut the purple cauliflower in to small florets and steam until tender. Strain and put in ice water to stop cooking process. Take out after a couple of minutes so you don’t lose too much of the purple color. Set aside.

Put the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and add in the chopped walnuts. Toast for about 3-4 minutes (or you can toast them in the microwave). Remove the nuts from the skillet.

Add the chopped garlic and the chopped shallots to the pan along with the mushrooms, rosemary, thyme and sage; saute for 1 minute.  Stir in the white wine and the heavy cream along with the 1/2 c. Parmesan cheese and the dash of nutmeg. Salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the chopped chicken, optional.

While the sauce is cooking start a large pot of salted water and bring to a boil and cook your pasta al dente. When the pasta is done strain (reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water in case you need it to thin sauce — I didn’t) and toss pasta with the cooked purple cauliflower.

Gently pour the walnut sauce over the pasta and cauliflower and toss to mix. Pour into serving dish and garnish with some additional sage leaves and some extra chopped walnuts. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese

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