Cacio e Pepe Cauliflower Breadsticks
September 28, 2016
I LOVE Pecorino Romano cheese, like “truly, madly, deeply” love.
We have a long history together and we cannot help but to cherish one another.
To be honest I cherish it, I dunno if it shares the same feelings for me. I doubt it.
Anyhow, I love pecorino cheese because it makes my mouth pucker when I take a bite; it's so salty and sharp — I guess I must be really a salt fiend, whenever I’m grating it I always cut off a little chunk (okay, maybe a big chunk) and eat it straight.
So when I first saw Food & Wine’s September cover featuring a brilliant cacio e pepe pizza, as one does, my first thought was “Oooh, so hard to achieve outside a food styling studio pretty” (I mean, look at that beauty) followed by “Wait, cacio e pepe (a Roman dish with only three ingredients — pecorino cheese, black pepper, and spaghetti) on a pizza?”, followed by “Maybe that’s too much Pecorino?” (answer: no, there’s never too much pecorino cheese ) and then “I wonder how that would be on cauliflower crust? Does cauliflower pair well with pecorino cheese? And what about pepper?”
So many questions…
Well, I made the cacio e pepe pizza on a whim a couple of weeks ago in the form of cauliflower breadsticks.
It was so delicious I polished the whole thing off in one sitting. Spectacular.
It was actually so delicious I had to make it three more times before I was actually able to restrain myself from eating it and take a couple of decent pictures.
And even though my greyish wooden kitchen table is the furthest cry from a photography studio, it was a total stunner.
I guess it’s the cauliflower that provides the perfect excuse to eat even more pecorino cheese than I usually do and not feel guilty about it.
These Cacio e Pepe Cauliflower Breadsticks totally hit the spot and will satisfy the craving without wrecking your macros/nutrition.
That is, if you care about that stuff (you guys know I do!)
I’m going to be making this a lot this winter, I can tell.
Cacio e Pepe Cauliflower Breadsticks Print this recipe!
Inspired by Food&Wine September 2016 Issue
1 medium head cauliflower, cut into small florets (should yield 4 cups of cauliflower rice)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
3 teaspoons dried oregano
1 garlic clove, minced (or ½ teaspoon garlic powder)
1 teaspoon fine grain salt
1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C) and place a rack in the middle. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and grease it with vegetable oil. Set aside.
In a food processor rice the cauliflower florets (it should be evenly chopped but not completely pulverized).
Transfer 4 cups of cauliflower rice to a microwave-safe dish and cover with lid. Microwave on high for 10 minutes.
Set aside to cool for a couple of minutes.
Place the cauliflower rice in a dish towel or cheesecloth and twist it to squeeze as much moisture as you can (I usually squeeze out over a cup of liquid)
This is very important. The cauliflower rice needs to be dry, otherwise you’ll end up with mushy breadsticks (be careful though, the cauliflower rice is thermonuclear hot!)
Add egg, mozzarella cheese, oregano, garlic, and salt. Mix well.
Spread the cauliflower mixture onto the lined baking sheet and shape into a rectangular shape.
Bake the crust for 25 minutes or until nice and golden.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle with Pecorino Romano cheese and put it back in the oven for another 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Sprinkle generously with ground black pepper, slice, and serve!
One serving yields 254 calories, 15 grams of fat, 9 grams of carbs, and 20 grams of protein.