When I pickled cauliflower in the fall, it was this dish that I had in mind, and I was not disappointed. It came from Eugenia Bone’s Well-Preserved, a great canning book that provides recipes for the preserved products. The cauliflower was slightly sweet, so I was dubious, but by changing proportions of the ingredients, and adding onion and hot red pepper flakes, the dish was a winner. I love the fact that pickled vegetables don’t always have to be considered antipasti.
I intended to make my own pasta for this, from locally processed whole wheat flour, or at the least, but I ended up with an organic whole wheat pasta. With local pork, wine, cheese, onion, garlic, thyme and parsley (from my garden), and homemade chicken stock, this was a quality meal for the Dark Days.
Pickled Cauliflower with Pork and Penne adapted from Eugenia Bone
2 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp minced onion
½ lb ground pork
¼ c dry white wine
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
Black pepper and red pepper flakes
¼ c homemade or good quality chicken stock (more if necessary)
¼- ½ lb whole wheat penne pasta (I used 1/4 lb for 2 servings)
1 pint pickled cauliflower, drained
¼ c grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp minced parsley
Warm the oil in a sauté pan and lightly cook the garlic and onion over medium-low heat for about 2 minutes, until the onion becomes translucent and the garlic fragrant. Add the pork and stir frequently to break up the pieces, for about 5 minutes. Add the wine and seasonings and cook, uncovered, until the wine evaporates, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in the chicken stock and cover the pan, cooking for another 5-6 minutes, until the pork is crumbly and moist.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in boiling water and drain.
Add the cooked pasta to the pork and stir to combine. Add the pickled cauliflower and a little more chicken stock if the mixture seems too dry. (It’s not a very saucy dish.) Adjust the seasonings if necessary. (I did not add salt since the cauliflower pickle contained a little salt and so did the cheese.)
Turn into a serving bowl and toss with Parmesan cheese and parsley.