Spicy Slow Cooker Pasta for a Fall Day
It’s a beautiful fall Sunday here and all I could think of is spending as much time as possible out of doors before the cold weather closes in. That’s why I am so grateful for my slow cooker. While I took a long walk this morning, and worked in my garden this afternoon, my slow cooker has been simmering away, turning a handful of ingredients into a rich, spicy sauce to serve with pasta.
I made it with a fresh, snowy white cauliflower, crushed tomatoes, garlic and spices. The finishing touch is toasted bread crumbs, spiked with anchovies. It’s a traditional topping that adds a crunchy, salty finish, but if you like you can season the crumbs with some garlic instead of the anchovies and top the pasta with grated cheese. It’s hearty and warming — just what we want on a chilly fall evening.
Pasta with Spicy Cauliflower and Anchovy Crumbs
1 small cauliflower, trimmed and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 cup water
5 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon oregano
Pinch of crushed red pepper
1/3 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
4 anchovy fillets
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound (16 ounces) shells, fusilli, or other dried pasta, cooked and drained
In a large slow cooker, stir together the tomatoes, water, 2 tablespoons of the oil, the garlic, oregano, salt and crushed red pepper. Add the cauliflower. Cover and cook on high 3 hours or until the cauliflower is very tender.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a small skillet. Add the anchovies (or 1 teaspoon very finely minced garlic) and cook over medium heat stirring constantly until the anchovies are dissolved, about 3 minutes. Stir in the breadcrumbs and cook, stirring often, until the crumbs are toasty, about 5 minutes more. Season with black pepper.
Toss the the sauce with the hot cooked pasta. Sprinkle with the crumbs and serve.
Copyright 2013 THE MEDITERRANEAN SLOW COOKER by Michele Scicolone. All rights reserved.