Modern Pasta Alla Norma

Kosher salt
10 ounces mezzi rigatoni or rigatoni
1 1/2 pounds eggplant, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Black pepper
3 ounces prosciutto, roughly chopped into 1- to 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced into rings
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 fresno or serrano chile, seeded, if you like, and thinly sliced into rings
1 1/2 pounds Sun Gold, cherry or grape tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes and their juices
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, finely chopped
1 cup roughly chopped fresh herbs, such as basil and mint
Flaky salt, for serving (optional)

Heat the oven to 425 degrees. On a large rimmed sheet pan, toss the eggplant with ¼ cup olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Spread everything evenly in one layer and roast until golden, 25 to 30 minutes, flipping halfway through to ensure even browning.

While the eggplant roasts, make your sauce: In a deep, 12-inch skillet, heat the remaining olive oil over medium. Add the prosciutto and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to crisp and brown in spots, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from skillet and place on a paper towel-lined plate.

Add the shallot, garlic and chile to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until the shallot has softened and the garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook until they start to burst, pressing the tomatoes gently down with the back of a spatula or wooden spoon to help them along, 5 to 7 minutes. You want some of them to collapse and some to maintain their structure. Stir in the diced tomatoes with their juices and season with salt and pepper. Simmer while the eggplant finishes roasting, about 15 minutes more. If the sauce appears dry, add ¼ cup pasta water.

While you’re making the sauce, bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta cooking water, then drain pasta.

When the eggplant is done, add it to the tomato sauce and stir to combine. Add the pasta and toss until everything is well coated with sauce, adding more pasta water if needed. Stir in the mozzarella and toss until it begins to melt.

Serve in the skillet or in bowls and top each portion with crispy prosciutto and fresh herbs. Season with flaky salt, if using.

Pasta with Seared Scallops and Cherry Tomatoes

Kosher salt
1 pound linguine fini or other long, thin pasta
1 pound large sea scallops, patted dry
Black pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 shallots, thinly sliced into rings
1 1/4 pounds Sun Gold, cherry or grape tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Pinch of red-pepper flakes (optional)
1 1/2 cups roughly chopped mixed herbs, such as tarragon, mint, parsley and chives, plus more for serving

Bring a large pot of well-salted water (2 heaping tablespoons kosher salt to about 7 quarts water) to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions until al dente. Reserve 1 1/2 cups pasta cooking water, then drain pasta.

Season the scallops well on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat a 12-inch skillet over high until very hot, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil. When it shimmers, add the scallops (working in batches to avoid crowding the pan, if necessary) and cook until golden brown and crisp, flipping once, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm while you make the sauce.

Wipe out the skillet and heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium. Add the shallots and cook until they begin to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until they start to burst, 5 to 7 minutes. Add about 1/3 cup reserved pasta water and press the tomatoes gently with the back of a spatula or wooden spoon to get them nice and jammy. Stir in the garlic and red-pepper flakes, if using, and cook, allowing the sauce to simmer, 1 to 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the pasta, 1 ½ cups herbs and ¼ cup reserved pasta water and toss to coat, adding additional pasta water if needed. Divide the pasta among shallow bowls and top with scallops. Garnish with additional herbs and a drizzle of olive oil, if desired.

Crispy Spiced Cauliflower Steaks

1/2 of 1 cinnamon stick, broken up
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
4 cloves
Large pinch of ground cayenne
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt, plus additional, as needed
1 1/3 cups brown- or white-rice flour (about 7 1/3 ounces)
2/3 cup tapioca flour (about 3 2/3 ounces)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (from 2 limes)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1 large lemon), plus additional lemon wedges, for serving
1 tablespoon grated fresh turmeric (or 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric)
2 small heads cauliflower (about 1 pound each), leaves removed, cut from top to core into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 1/2 to 2 cups coconut oil
1 cup Greek yogurt, for serving (optional)
2 tablespoons roughly chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems, for serving (optional)

Line a baking sheet with a wire rack or paper towels, and set aside.

Finely grind cinnamon, coriander, fennel, peppercorns, cumin and cloves in a spice grinder, spice mill or mortar and pestle.Transfer to a bowl, and stir in cayenne and 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk both flours until combined. Whisk in lime and lemon juices, then gradually whisk in enough water until the mixture is the consistency of thin pancake batter (about 1 1/3 cups). There is no gluten in either flour, so don’t worry about overmixing.

Stir in turmeric and the spice mixture. Taste, and adjust salt as needed.

Working with 1 or 2 steaks at a time, push the cauliflower steaks into the batter, turn to coat and allow to marinate for at least 3 minutes.

Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium high. Add coconut oil to a depth of 1/3-inch, and heat until hot. Carefully drip a few drops of batter into the oil to test that it’s sufficiently hot. The batter should immediately sizzle and expand. Slip the steaks one at a time directly from the batter into the pan. Don’t overcrowd the pan — the steaks should never touch.

Cook until golden brown on the bottom, 8 to 12 minutes, rotating the steaks around the pan after 6 to 8 minutes to ensure even browning. Use a thin metal spatula to carefully flip the steaks. Continue cooking until the second sides are golden-brown and the cores are tender when pierced with a knife, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer steaks to the prepared baking sheet, and allow to drain. Season with salt. Repeat with the remaining steaks and any remaining smaller pieces of cauliflower, adjusting the heat as needed to prevent the steaks from browning too quickly.

Serve hot or reheat in an oven at 400 degrees until hot and crispy, about 5 to 7 minutes. Top with a dollop of Greek yogurt and a shower of chopped cilantro, if desired. Serve with lemon wedges for squeezing on top.

Pasta with Cauliflower and Cream

Kosher salt and black pepper
8 ounces rigatoni, ziti or campanelle
6 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup fresh coarse or panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup finely grated pecorino cheese, plus more for serving
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1 medium head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), outer leaves and stem removed, sliced about 1/2-inch thick (it’s O.K. if it crumbles)
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest, plus more for serving
1/2 cup finely chopped chives
Red-pepper flakes (optional)

Variations: cooked bacon, leafy greens

Bring a large pasta pot filled with salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente; drain and reserve about 1 cup of the cooking water.

Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add bread crumbs and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they’re evenly toasted and golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Add ¼ cup pecorino and toss to coat, letting the cheese melt and clump among the bread crumbs (think granola-like clusters). Remove from heat and transfer to a small bowl or plate; set aside.

Wipe out the skillet and heat remaining 3 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add shallot and cauliflower and season with salt and plenty of black pepper. Cook, tossing occasionally, until the cauliflower has completely softened and both the cauliflower and shallots are beginning to caramelize and brown, 12 to 15 minutes.

Add heavy cream and 1 tablespoon lemon zest and bring to a simmer, then let the cream reduce and thicken, 2 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and plenty of pepper; if pasta is still cooking, remove from heat and set aside until pasta is ready.

Return the skillet to medium heat and add the pasta to the cauliflower, along with the remaining ¼ cup pecorino and ¾ cup of the pasta water. Cook, tossing to coat the pasta and thicken the sauce until it’s thick and glossy, and almost resembles macaroni and cheese, adding more pasta water by the tablespoon as needed, 4 to 6 minutes.

Remove from heat. Divide pasta among bowls and top with pecorino bread crumbs, chives, more lemon zest, red-pepper flakes (if using) and more cheese if you like.

Cauliflower, Cashew, Coconut Curry With Peas

1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 green chile, roughly chopped (seeded if you prefer less heat)
Kosher salt
4 tablespoons canola oil
2 large onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chile powder
1 large head cauliflower (about 1 1/4 pounds), broken into bite-size florets
1 (14-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
4 ounces unsalted cashews (about 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 small bunch cilantro, leaves chopped, for serving
1 lemon wedge, for serving
Cooked basmati rice, for serving

Place the ginger, garlic and green chile in a mortar and pestle with a pinch of salt. Mash until a paste forms and set aside. Alternately, finely chop the ginger, garlic and green chile together, sprinkle with a pinch of salt, then mash into a coarse paste using the flat portion of your chef’s knife.

In a large skillet with a lid, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium. Cook the onions until golden, about 10 minutes. Add the ginger paste and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes.

Stir in the tomato paste, coriander, cumin, chile powder and 1 1/4 teaspoons salt. Stir in the cauliflower and coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the cauliflower is tender, 10 to 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a small skillet over medium. Fry the cashews, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.

Add the peas and garam masala to the cauliflower mixture and cook, stirring, 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt.

Top the curry with the cashews, cilantro and a squeeze of lemon just before serving. Serve with a big steaming bowl of basmati rice.

Cauliflower Adobo

1 large cauliflower (2 1/2 to 3 pounds)
Kosher salt
2 teaspoons black pepper, plus more as needed
3 tablespoons canola oil, plus more as needed
1/2 cup rice-wine vinegar
5 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons raw or light brown sugar
6 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
3 bay leaves
1 Thai chile, halved lengthwise, or 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
3 scallions, thinly sliced, for serving

Trim leaves and woody stalk from the cauliflower, then cut through the root into 8 wedges. Season both sides of each wedge with salt and pepper. Reserve any loose cauliflower pieces.

In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Place one layer of the wedges in the skillet cut-side down and cook without moving them until well browned on one side, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate and continue until all the cauliflower is seared, adding more oil as needed. Return all the cauliflower to the pan with uncooked side facing down.

Add 1/4 cup water, any loose cauliflower pieces, 2 teaspoons black pepper, rice-wine vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, garlic, bay leaves and Thai chile. Cover and let simmer over medium heat until the cauliflower is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.

Uncover, turn the heat to medium-high, and cook, basting the cauliflower occasionally with the sauce, until the cauliflower is tender and the sauce has thickened and reduced to about 3/4 cup, 8 to 10 minutes.

Serve the cauliflower with plenty of sauce and a sprinkle of scallions.

Tip: If you plan to eat rice with the adobo, bring 1 3/4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan before you start the recipe. Stir in 1 teaspoon salt and 1 cup long-grain rice, cover, and let simmer on the lowest heat possible for 18 minutes. Proceed with the adobo. Let the rice sit, covered and off the heat, until the adobo is ready. Fluff rice with a fork before serving.