with Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts, and Bread Crumbs
- 1 head cauliflower
- 8 ounces Brussels sprouts
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil*
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
- 8 ounces whole wheat penne
- *not included
- **one head of garlic included in one of the meal bags
Set a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Rinse the cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. Trim the cauliflower and cut it into florets. Add them to the pot and bring to a boil. Trim the sprouts and shred them in the food processor using the slicing attachment or pulsing with the large blade, or chop them by hand. Peel and slice 3 garlic cloves.
Put a large dry skillet over medium-low heat and add the pine nuts. Toast, shaking the skillet frequently and watching carefully not to burn, until they’re lightly browned and fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes; transfer to a plate. Check the cauliflower with a fork. It should be kind of mushy; this may take 15 minutes.
While the cauliflower cooks, put 1 tablespoon oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bread crumbs and cook, stirring frequently and adjusting the heat so they don’t burn, until they’re crisp and sizzling, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain them on paper towels and return the skillet to the heat. Lower the heat a bit and add another tablespoon of oil to the skillet. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, 1 or 2 minutes. Add 1/8 teaspoon red chile flakes or more (depending on your affinity for heat), stir, and turn off the heat.
Fish the cauliflower out of the pot with a slotted spoon and transfer it to the skillet; keep the water boiling. Cook over medium heat, mashing and stirring with the back of a spoon, until it’s breaking apart, 5 to 10 minutes. As the cauliflower cooks, add a tablespoon or 2 of the cooking water to soften it. Meanwhile, add the pasta to the boiling water and stir occasionally. Start tasting after 7 minutes; it should be tender but not mushy. Remove about 1 cup of the cooking water and reserve. When the pasta is done, drain it.
Add the pasta, the sprouts, a splash of the reserved cooking water, and the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the skillet. Toss until steaming, adding more cooking water to make a creamy sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning and serve, passing the bread crumbs and pine nuts at the table.