Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Pasta Dijon...or Mustard Madness!

First of all, thanks to everyone who has been reading and subscribing to my blog! I've enjoyed getting your encouraging emails, and I'm having a lot of fun with this new-found outlet for my cooking/nutrition/eating hobby. Don't be shy about adding comments to these posts, especially if you decide to make one of the recipes.

Pasta Dijon/Mustard Madness is based on a recipe that Mike and I invented a couple of years ago. I say "Mike and I" to be diplomatic about it, because I say that I invented it, and he says the same. In fact, I sort of named it "Pasta Dijon," while he suggested "Mustard Madness." The fact that we are vying for credit should give you some indication that this is a tasty dish! And now we've developed it further, using more of our farmer's market haul from last weekend.

The basic idea here is a pasta dish with a sauce based on Dijon mustard and white wine. You can use whatever veggies you have to fill this out. We discovered purple cauliflower at the market and decided to give it a try - we haven't been the biggest cauliflower fans, but it was fantastic roasted in this recipe. Plus, it's in season right now (along with regular white cauliflower, which you can certainly use if purple ones aren't readily apparent). For a list of what's in season in your neck of the woods, check out this handy-dandy website.

This would work with whole-wheat pasta, but we used the mild-tasting Barilla Plus, which is multi grain and totally stacked with protein, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Protein and fiber both help to slow the entry of sugar carbs into the bloodstream, and omega-3s are unbelievably good for you in a whole host of ways.


1 small-medium head of cauliflower
2 Tablespoons olive oil
5 Tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons fresh chopped tarragon
fresh squeezed juice of 1/2 lemon
5 stalks green onion, chopped
1 clove garlic
1.5 cups chopped fresh mushrooms
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard (such as Grey Poupon Country Dijon)
3/4 cup dry white wine
2-3 teaspoons fresh chopped tarragon (or 1 Tbsp dried)
Barilla Plus or whole-wheat penne pasta
freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Has anyone else noticed that both Parmesan and Dijon are supposed to be capitalized because they refer to the place names of Parma, Italy and Dijon, France? Anyway...

Separate your cauliflower head into stalks and place in a baking dish. Drizzle a few tablespoons of olive oil and white balsamic vinegar onto the cauliflower. Squeeze the lemon juice onto it, add the tarragon, salt and pepper, and toss the veggies to coat. Roast the cauliflower in a 450 degree oven for 30-40 minutes. They'll get a little browned on the outside, but will be delicious in the pasta.

Meanwhile, heat a little olive oil in a skillet and cook the green onions for a minute or so. Add the garlic and mushrooms. After a few minutes, begin your sauce by adding the mustard and white wine. Turn up the heat to allow the sauce to reduce and thicken. If it gets too thick, add a little more wine. If it seems too runny, add a little more mustard. When the sauce is close to the right consistency, add the chopped tarragon.

Cook the pasta.

When your cauliflower has finished roasting, add it to the mustard sauce, and cook it all together for a few minutes to let the flavors mix. Serve the pasta in bowls, tossed with the mustard sauce. Use the Parmesan cheese as a finishing touch in each bowl, and allow the heat of the food to melt the cheese. Mmmmmmmm.

Cauliflower on Foodista


  1. I thought of this in the shower. All this he-said, she-said is bull! It was all me!