Roasted grapes and cauliflower tossed with linguine


While roasted vegetables are popular in North America, roasting fruit such as grapes also helps caramelize natural sugars in order to enhance flavour.
While roasted vegetables are popular in North America, roasting fruit such as grapes also helps caramelize natural sugars in order to enhance flavour.  (Karon Liu / Toronto Star) | Order this photo  

Vegetables simply taste better when roasted as their natural sugars caramelize and develop a deeper, sweeter and slightly nuttier flavour. The same also applies to fruit.

Roasting grapes may sound odd, but it’s a technique popular in Italian cuisine that gives sweet and savoury dishes a sweet, juicy boost. They go fantastic with grilled sausages, roasted chicken, salads and on top of cakes. They’re also tasty on their own as a snack.

The first time I came across roasted grapes were at Campagnolo, the Italian restaurant on Dundas St. W. and Euclid Ave. where chef Craig Harding paired roasted grapes with burrata and toasted bread. At his new restaurant across the street, La Palma, he pairs roasted grapes and cauliflower, which is the inspiration for this single adult diner.

Grapes provide a slight punch of acidity that brightens up the pasta and roasted cauliflower, and its juices help the pasta from drying out in lieu of a sauce. Roast some extra grapes and add them to vanilla ice cream for dessert.

Roasted Cauliflower And Grape Linguine

1 1/2 cups (375 mL) cauliflower florets, cut into small pieces

1/2 cup (125 mL) seedless red table grapes

2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil, plus more for tossing pasta

Kosher salt and pepper, to taste

85 g dried linguine

1 garlic clove, minced

Grated Parmesan, to taste

Balsamic vinegar, to taste

Preheat oven to 425F (220C).

In a large roasting pan, toss cauliflower florets and grapes with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes, or until florets are slightly browned and grapes are soft.

Ten minutes before cauliflower and grapes finish roasting, bring a large pot of salted water to a roaring boil. Cook pasta until al dente, according to package instructions. Drain and transfer cooked pasta to a large serving bowl. Toss with additional olive oil, garlic, roasted cauliflower and grapes until pasta is lightly coated with oil.

Top with grated Parmesan and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Serve immediately.

Makes 1 serving.

karonliu@thestar.ca



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