Gratin of orecchiette and cauliflower in garlic and lemon cream
I like orecchiette. Their name means little ear and it is true they somewhat unsettlingly look like some cute animal's chopped off ears. Once you get past this you will enjoy this pasta, which is on the thicker end and remains chewy in the middle once cooked. Eaten with a chicory salad and / or prosciutto, this gratin makes a really fine dinner and a great use of cauliflower. Check out my tip on the best way to cook it and you won't look back.

Gratin of orecchiette and cauliflower in garlic and lemon cream

Posted on March 18, 2010
Categories: All vegetarian recipes, Main Courses, Managed budget, Side dishes, vegetarian
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Recipe by: Anne-Laure at Tasty Diaries
Busy:15 min, Total prep time: 25 min
Serves: 4 
Cook the orecchiette according to packet instructions.

Pick the thyme leaves off their sprigs.

Trim the leaves off the cauliflower and chop it into small florets. Steam the florets for about 7-8 minutes, until just tender.

Chop the garlic finely and mix it with the cream in a small saucepan. Bring the cream mixture to the boil, take off the heat and let the garlic infuse the cream for 5 minutes. Sieve the cream for a light garlic flavour or keep the garlic bits in it if you like a stronger taste. Mix the cream with half the Parmesan and 3/4 of the thyme leaves, and season to taste.

Toss the pasta and cauliflower into a gratin dish and pour the cream over. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan and thyme leaves on top and grill in the oven for 7 to 8 minutes or until the gratin is nicely coloured.

Serve with a drizzle of lemon juice on top (very important - a huge taste plus so don't forget this last little step!)

Serve with a green salad.

Cook the orecchiette according to packet instructions.

Pick the thyme leaves off their sprigs.

Trim the leaves off the cauliflower and chop it into small florets. Steam the florets for about 7-8 minutes, until just tender.

Chop the garlic finely and mix it with the cream in a small saucepan. Bring the cream mixture to the boil, take off the heat and let the garlic infuse the cream for 5 minutes. Sieve the cream for a light garlic flavour or keep the garlic bits in it if you like a stronger taste. Mix the cream with half the Parmesan and 3/4 of the thyme leaves, and season to taste.

Toss the pasta and cauliflower into a gratin dish and pour the cream over. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan and thyme leaves on top and grill in the oven for 7 to 8 minutes or until the gratin is nicely coloured.

Serve with a drizzle of lemon juice on top (very important – a huge taste plus so don’t forget this last little step!)

Serve with a green salad.

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Cauliflower is at its best when it is steamed to a minimum (7-8 min for small florets). As it cooks, cauliflower produces sulfur and hydrogen sulfide, compounds responsible for its strong smell and taste. The longer you cook it, the more of these it produces, and the less digestible it becomes.

Add pieces of prosciutto or pancetta to the mix for a non-vegetarian option.

Replace the cauliflower with broccoli for a variant.
Ingredients

240 g dried orrecchiette
1 cauliflower
30 cL single cream
6 garlic cloves
5 thyme sprigs
60 g grated parmesan
1 lemon

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