Yesterday, I attended a family reunion. It was a Sicilian love fest! I felt so fortunate to grow up in a neighborhood where all my aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents lived within blocks of each other. Stuck like glue everyone gathered including those who have gone before us thanks to old home movies which were shared on a big screen.
The more remarkable story has to do with this lady who was in attendance. She is 89 years old. Her name is Miss Robbina. She is not a blood relative, but totally part of our family. Miss Robbina was my 6th grade teacher at McKinley School in Westfield, NJ. Over the years, she taught many of my cousins, siblings and nephews, as well. She raised us up. She engaged with our parents. They were a team of high expectations and a force to be reckoned with if:
- We were not doing our homework
- Misbehaving in class
- Not living up to our potential
- Late to class
- the list goes on…
As much as we might try to “divide and conquer” the adults they were always in control because they supported each other. The teachers back then were extensions of our families. Bring back the good old days in our schools.
Inspired by those I love most here is a family friendly recipe that was recently chosen as a winner in the Explore Cuisine recipe contest. With roasted cauliflower, salty capers and sweet golden raisins it’s an old school rustic recipe updated with red lentil penne.Print
Red lentil penne given some Sicilian flavor with cauliflower, raisins and pine nuts
1 (8 oz) box Explore Cuisine Organic Red Lentil Penne
½ large head of cauliflower, sliced into 3/4-inch planks
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ cup golden raisins
2 tablespoons small capers, rinsed, drained
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
Freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Cook penne according to package directions reserving ½ cup of pasta cooking liquid.
- Separate sliced cauliflower into small florets. Drizzle olive oil over bottom of large unheated skillet. Add cauliflower in a single layer. Sprinkle with pepper flakes.
- Cover skillet and cook cauliflower over medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until nicely browned. Remove cover, stir cauliflower. Add golden raisins, capers, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add cooked pasta, reserved pasta water and parsley; toss well.
- Serve topped with pine nuts and parmesan.
- Category: main dish
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: pasta, healthy, vegetarian, Sicilian, lentil