Pasta Snails with Cauliflower Cream, Olives, Capers, Almonds, Parsley

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Cauliflower and olives is not too common of a combination but its a classic Italian pairing, especially around Marche. Cauliflower has a remarkable flavor of its own, but it pairs with strong flavors very well - gojuchang, olives, horseradish, even cocoa if it’s done right. The simple flavors in this dish become more than the sum of their parts and make a startling contrast to the essentially white-on-white presentation.

  • 3 large shallots, sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 head cauliflower, broken into small florets
  • ¼ cup slivered almonds
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 2 cups chocciola
  • ½ cup oil cured olives, chopped and lightly rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons toasted almonds
  • 2 tablespoons chiffonade parsley

Sweat the shallots, garlic and almonds in ¼ cup of olive oil with a teaspoon of salt over low heat, covered. When that’s soft and flavorful, after about 10 minutes, add the cauliflower. When they’re tender, add the white wine. Reduce until the pan’s almost dry, then add 1 cup water. Simmer for 3 minutes or so until the cauliflower is soft. Blend thoroughly, pass through a chinois and season with salt. 

Boil the pasta

Warm the cauliflower cream gently and add in the olives, capers, and almonds. Toss in the pasta. Adjust the thickness of the sauce with water if necessary. Toss in the parsley and serve.