Black Skillet Mezzi Rigatoni with Cauliflower Bolognese

Slowly simmered vegetables, roasted cauliflower and a touch of citrus and herbs.

3 pounds Barilla Mezzi Rigatoni
Ingredients for the almond gremolata:
2 cups whole almonds
½ cup basil chiffonade
¼ cup lemon zest
¼ cup Italian parsley, chopped
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Ingredients for the cauliflower bolognese:
1 ½ cups blended oil
1 ½ teaspoon fresh garlic
1 ½ cups celery, ¼ inch dice
1 ½ cups carrots, ¼ inch dice
1 ½ cups onions, ¼ inch dice
1 ½ tsp kosher salt
¾ teaspoon black pepper
8 cups cauliflower, riced
2 cups red wine
1 #10 can crushed tomatoes
¼ cup parsley, chopped
¼ cup chiffonade basil
1 teaspoon rosemary, chopped
Ingredients for the garnish:
1 quart butternut squash, 1/8 inch diced and roasted
1 pound stracchino or mascarpone cheese
  1. Pulse the almonds in a robo coupe until they are broken down but still chunky. Leave some larger pieces.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine everything and toss until evenly incorporated.
  3. Heat a large rondeau over medium heat.
  4. Add the blended oil and allow to warm for 2 minutes.
  5. Add the celery, onion, and carrot. Sweat down over medium heat for 6 minutes, salt the vegetables, then continue to cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Once everything is translucent and tender, add the pepper and cauliflower.
  7. Stir and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Deglaze with red wine and reduce by 2/3. Add tomato paste and stir it in well until all vegetables are covered.
  8. Cook for 3 minutes then add the crushed tomatoes. Mix them in well and simmer for 30 minutes.
  9. Reduce the heat to low, then add fresh herbs. Cook for 2 minutes, remove from heat, and cool down.
  10. When ready for service, heat the bolognese in a large rondeau or tilt skillet.
  11. Drop the pasta into boiling water for 1 minute or until heated through.
  12. Drain the pasta and mix with the sauce, then fold in the roasted butternut squash.
  13. Scoop the pasta into cast iron skillets, top with dollops of cheese and bake in a 350°F oven for 5 minutes or until melted.
  14. Remove from oven and top with gremolata.