Roasted Cauliflower with Vodka Sauce from The Pretty Guinea Pig
We all know the saying “The quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”. This can also be a fairly speedy route to the female heart as well. Staying in and making your date dinner (or making it together) rates high on the romance scale. You get to show off your creativity and appreciation for nuance and details, even if it’s a simple dish. It’s no different from putting an outfit together. That’s what this series is all about. She or he will be left impressed, and you won’t need the skills of Wolfgang Puck.
- Familiar Ingredients: everything
- Not So Familiar Ingredients: nothing weird in this one, well… except the vodka
- Number of Pans/Pots you’ll need to make this dish: 1 rimmed baking sheet for roasting the cauliflower, 1 large skillet for the sauce.
Danger, Will Robinson. Just because we’re using vodka in this recipe does not mean you should get CRUNK while cooking it. If you’re date’s all about it afterwards, fine. But while in the kitchen, maintain your composure.
This recipe makes for a fast, easy, and delicious vegetarian meal. If using cauliflower in the place of pasta irks you, use pasta. But seriously, all the flavors here work together, and it’s super high in nutrients, with a good amount of decadence. Plus, without the pasta it doesn’t sit too heavy, and you don’t get a carb overload if you serve some crusty bread with it.
If you want to add meat, Italian style pork or turkey sausage would do the trick. Or if you want to add some high quality vegetarian protein, try mixing in a cup of cooked quinoa. Loofah and vodka, yum! Below, some quick ingredient and prep tips to get you started.
Cauliflower – If you’ve never prepped a head of cauliflower before, be warned, it’s messy. As you cut it up little chunks of cauliflower get spit everywhere. In order to have your place looking good when your date arrives, consider doing this prep work ahead of time. Or, buy fresh cauliflower florets that are already cut up.
Tomatoes – In the recipe, I used half the amount of canned tomatoes normally used in a vodka sauce. This resulted in a concentrated, creamy sauce. You can double the tomatoes though, if you need more sauce. Or heck, just double everything and make extra sauce. It would be delicious on pasta, brown rice, quinoa, or chopped up veggies.
Vodka – You don’t have to use an expensive vodka for this recipe. Whatever you have on hand, as long as it’s not flavored, will work. A savory flavored vodka might work, but leave experimentation for the second time around. No need to add scorpion flavored vodka this time. What the hell?
Salt – Use salt sparingly in the sauce. The roasted cauliflower will have salt on it. The canned tomatoes will have some salt. The butter and cheese will add salt. So when salting the sauce, start small. You can always add more at the end, but you can’t take salt out once you’ve overdone it.
Final Note: With the cream and cheese in the sauce, this dish will stand up to a fuller wine like a cabernet sauvignon. Or yes, there’s vodka. I’d serve wine with the dinner though, and perhaps create a dessert cocktail that utilizes the vodka, so you can keep the theme going. You know, so you can get crunk (NSFW), and crunk.
Sarah is a self proclaimed foodie and regular contributor to theprettyguineapig.com. It’s been far too long since she’s been crunk, but a bag of Funyuns and chocolate milk no longer seem to cure her hangovers. For more MIFYD posts, click here. And if so inclined, tell us about the most unusual flavor of vodka you’ve ever tried in the comments.