Seared cauliflower, broccoli and burrata pasta
There is something gloriously comforting about the triad of broccoli, cauliflower, and some sort of cheese. Originally I wasn’t going to bother posting this because I feel like any pasta dish with vegetables and cheese is almost too obvious, simple, and easy but hey – this is the sort of thing that you generally yearn for at the end of a long day. Something you can throw together in twenty minutes, that is utterly wonderful. Anyway, this was still pretty exciting for me because I had never tried burrata before, but after seeing this pasta with burrata and kale roasted garlic sauce from Five and Spice, I was intrigued.
Burrata is like a big knotted ball of fresh white mozzarella, with a super creamy centre. I used Paesanella cheese – the cows eat grass and hay 95% of the time in Western Australia, and the flavour definitely reflects that.* The flavour is so fresh that you’re immediately transported to warm grassy fields, sun on your face. I won’t lie, it’s not cheap (I got my ball for about $10), but it was my little treat after being good and not buying any take out that week. It works so wonderfully with the broccoli and cauliflower, which are seared until flecked with brown, then cooked with a little of the whey that the burrata sits in. If you want a *really* quick and easy meal, serve the burrata and veges with fresh, real ciabatta instead of pasta – which would do an excellent job at mopping up the creamy centre of the buratta that ends up on the plate! Do not skimp on the ciabatta – and if you’re trying to save up your pennies, try making my cheat’s version, which would do just as well. PS. Burrata must be consumed on the day of opening. You can save the leftover chees-y water in the container and use it in place of water or to complement stock in just about any recipe, sweet or savoury.
Seared brassica & burrata pasta
- enough broccoli and cauliflower florets to fit snugly on one layer in a very large frying pan (I also used the peeled stalks)
- if you have it, a few sprigs of fresh thyme or marjoram
- pasta for two (200-300g)
- cooking oil, salt and pepper, extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
- one ball burrata (around 200g) and some of the water it sits in
Start cooking your pasta first, so it’s done it time. If it’s finished too early, drain, mix in a little extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, and leave covered in your saucepan until you need it. Coat the bottom of your large heavy frying pan with about 1 Tbs oil, pop the cauliflower florets in a single layer, cover and turn heat up to medium high. Once they are brown on the underside, add the broccoli and stir so everything is still on one layer. Cover again, until the broccoli meet the same fate as the cauli. Uncover, add plenty of salt and a splash of whey and immediately re-cover. If you secretly didn’t use a heavy frying pan, leave on the heat for another 2 minutes or so. Otherwise, turn off heat, leaving covered.
Once there’s no crazy spitting coming from the pan, uncover, salt generously and taste. There should be a little water in the pan still, if not, add some so it’s not bone dry, if you’ve added too much water, crank the heat back on and reduce a little by cooking uncovered, before turning the heat off again.
Add most of the thyme and pasta and stir to combine. Taste -it needs to be fairly salty, since the cheese is not salty. Plate (preferably on plates that have sat in a 90C oven while you were cooking).
Lift burrata out of the whey with a fork, and rip the “knot” into bite size pieces, and throw on your pasta. Tear the ball in half over one of the plates of pasta, and put one half on the other plate. Crack over pepper, sprinkle over the rest of the thyme, and give everything a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and another sprinkling of salt. Serve!