Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pasta with Creamy Blue Cheese Rosemary Sauce, Roasted Cauliflower and Sausage

Autumn in Wisconsin is a glorious and fickle time of the year.  It generally begins quite mildly with breezy but sunny days and cool evenings. But, as October winds pull the last of the burnt umber leaves from the trees, the weather takes a turn.  Days turn cooler. Evenings become crisp. By November, chilly rains, reminiscent of early spring, bid even the outdoorsy folks among us to seek solace in the warmth of our homes.

I'm a huge fan of this time of the year -- not only of the ever-changing weather, but also the metamorphosis that autumn sets into motion. Plants give off their fruit. Flowers go to seed. Dried leaves crumble beneath our feet. The chlorophyll in our garden plants degrades, revealing stunning yellow and orange pigments.  We marvel at the unexpectedly bright colors of death, as the world enters into its slumber, preparing for the stark silence of winter.

However, despite the beauty and bounty that late summer and autumn brings, I sometimes find myself at a loss in the kitchen. There are no tomatoes littering my counter, needing to be used.  No end-of-season produce from the garden begging to be turned into weeknight meals.  I no longer have to keep up the lively, reactive pace of canning and preserving. And sometimes I find myself uninspired.

Fortunately, there is always something that comes along to pull me out of my cooking funk.  This dish, for instance, was inspired by an unusually brilliant head of freshly picked local organic cauliflower -- stunningly white, with compact florets surrounded by a wreath of green leaves.

While I adore the simplicity of steamed cauliflower -- drizzled with a simple mustard sauce or spritzed with citrus -- I absolutely can't resist the toasted caramelized flavors that roasting brings to the table.  So, after a liberal douse of olive oil, into the oven went the cauliflower.
 Since the sweetness of cauliflower pairs so famously with cheese, and because I was craving something with a strong profile, I decided upon a simple cream sauce flavored with rosemary and gorgonzola. 

Although this dish would be lovely as a vegetarian main, we happened to have a few smoked sausages in the refrigerator that needed to be used.  And they turned out to be a perfectly complementary addition.  Their salty, smoky flavor accentuated the sweetness of the cauliflower and pulled the herbal flavors of the rosemary right to the forefront.

Save this pasta dish for a cool autumn evening when the cold winds beckon you to the warmth of home.

Pasta with Creamy Blue Cheese Rosemary Sauce, Roasted Cauliflower and Sausage

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  1. This looks a-mazing. I love filling pasta with veggies.

  2. I could eat a whole head of roasted cauliflower--I guess it's not a terrible addiction to have!

    And with gorgonzola and pasta...oh my!

    Still loving my waffle maker...

  3. Oh my...Love the sharp bite of Blue Cheese...this sounds wonderful!

  4. I love roasted cauliflower too but have never put it it pasta, yum

  5. That first paragraph reads from something of a great novel! And this dish...YUM-O.

  6. What an original way to use cauliflower! And then you sealed the deal with blue cheese and smoked sausage.

  7. It wasso great to see your comment on my blog, lo! It's been a while! I can see you'restill turning ut gorgeous and mouth-watering dishes alog with ezquisite writing! I adore blue cheese,, and with the cauliflowerm sausage and pasta...WOW! Brilliant and delicious combo!

  8. You had me at blue cheese! And roasted cauliflower really is the only way to go - delicious! Love how you have your blog and recipes organized. Happy to have found you two and your resource of recipes!


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