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BuffaloSpree.com's Recipe of the Week: Cavatappi with Roasted Cauliflower, Olives and Garlic Confit

Celebrate St. Joseph's day

Michael Franco


The month of March holds an assortment of important celebrations for a city as rooted in ethnic and religious tradition as Buffalo, and each of these important dates is accompanied by significant dishes and flavors. In the crux of the Lenten season, the steel town fish fry has seemingly taken over our region's casual restaurants. Last week's four-day-long St. Pat's celebration inspired a massive corned beef outbreak. And Sunday was, for many people of Italian descent, St. Joseph's Day, a Sicilian celebration which is accompanied by a very specific menu.


My dear friend, Michael Franco, celebrates St. Joseph's Day each year, sometimes very traditionally and other times with a little culinary flair. This year he's prepared a pasta dish featuring many of the ingredients that are found on what is called the St. Joseph's Day "table". You can read more about St. Joseph's Day here.


"I love pasta!," Franco blogs on his website, Live to Eat. "It’s a comforting versatile food staple that is uncomplicated and quick to cook. It’s the perfect canvas that is stable enough to stand up to layers of flavors without loosing it’s integrity and it can hold it’s own when paired with sauces ranging from a light garden fresh tomato sauce to a luscious rich cream sauce."


Cavatappi with Roasted Cauliflower, Olives and Garlic Confit


For the garlic confit:

1/2 cup olive oil

6-8 garlic cloves thinly sliced

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/4 tsp salt

a few gratings of nutmeg

Simmer on very low heat in a small sauce pan for 1 hour. Do not brown.


For the toasted bread crumbs:

1/2 cup plain bread crumbs

Gently toast in a dry saute pan until nicely browned, stirring often. Set aside.


For the roasted cauliflower:

1 head cauliflower cut in small flowerets (about 8 cups)

1/3 cup olive oil

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup large green olives sliced in to 8 slices

Toss all ingredients (except the olives) on a sheet pan and roast in a preheated 425 degree oven for about 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Add olives, stir and roast for 10 minutes longer.


For the pasta:

1 pound Cavatappi

Boil pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Please do not over cook.


For the garnish:

zest of 1 lemon

1/2 cup fennel leaves

grated Romano cheese

toasted bread crumbs

olive oil for drizzling

freshly ground black pepper


To plate:

Drain pasta and gently toss with cooked cauliflower and garlic confit. Spoon into warm pasta bowls and sprinkle with lemon zest, fennel leaves, Romano cheese, toasted bread crumbs, a drizzle of your best olive oil and freshly ground black pepper to taste.



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