roasted sausage and cauliflower

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Whatever kind of person it makes me that I couldn’t possibly finish this sentence without resorting to the potty humor these photos so clearly require I’m fine with – it’s funny and you know it. Related: Broad City is back! Thank goddess, now we finally have something to do while we eat dinner. And by dinner I mean wine and cake, both of which because: wedding.

On that note, I’m feeling hashtag blessed to report that the testing phase of Operation Too Picky to Not Make My Own Wedding Cake is going surprisingly well and is almost almost over (NO JINX, dear jesus no. freaking. jinx.). Meaning that I’ve only got one more practice round to go before I make the real one, which is AMAZING news after last week when I ate cake every single day. That’s something I never thought I’d live to complain about, but here we are.

I was trying to see how the cake and frosting each held up over a span of days and how it tasted at various temperatures. A worthwhile investigation no doubt, but between that and the nightly glass (ahem, goblet) of wine currently required for maintaining sanity, I almost didn’t want to be around any other carbs. Like, not even garlic bread. It was all very twilight zone, and it’s still unclear what I was thinking or if I was thinking at all. Actually, scratch that. I def wasn’t thinking because if I had been I absolutely would not have cooked supper on top of all the baking and dress shopping. (Did I tell you I only got my dress last week? He he heeeee that actually happened.)

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Luckily for us and our waistlines – since we all agree that “healthy takeout” is a lie and I do actually have to wear this damn dress soon – I went straight into autopilot and relied on the sheet-pan wizardry of Melissa Clark, the (Yas) Queen of Dinnertime, to pull me through. I’ve cooked out of Dinner: Changing the Game so frequently that it lives on top of the record player with my laptop and glasses case, rather than on the bookcase in the kitchen with the rest of my cookbook collection. Or as DJ Khaled puts it “another one.”

This sauseege/cauli roast is one of our favorites from that stunning and useful book, as well as a solid top 5 Ever of All Time weeknight dinners. The chop, toss, roast method that takes you from raw ingredients to nourishing, non-cake sustenance needs no further explanation from the likes of me, so just go ahead and make it so you can start loving it too. If you have cauliflower, sausage, olive oil, and something to season with, you’re over halfway there. Don’t overthink it.

The one cooking note I can contribute is to play around with the yogurt sauce; I make it different every time. Oh, and that spicy sausage beats mild hands down. Though, if you’re working with mild, adding some extra spice in the yogurt is nice way to go as well. I was about to say I’d bet you the cost of our wedding that you won’t be able to screw this meal up but, uh, let’s just leave it at “get thee to the kitchen” and allow my one un-frazzled brain cell to remain that way. Okay still not actually thinking so I hope this made sense. Bye. 

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Roasted Sausage and Cauliflower, adapted very slightly from Melissa Clark’s Dinner: Changing the Game

1 medium head of cauliflower (about 2 lbs), cut into florets
2 or 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
1 lb Italian sausages, pricked with a fork
½ cup plain yogurt, preferably non-Greek and whole milk (sour cream is a great substitute too)
1 small garlic clove
Aleppo or Turkish pepper, as needed
A scant ¼ cup of toasted pine nuts, for serving (optional, walnuts would be delicious too!)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Spread the cauliflower florets on a large rimmed baking sheet, and toss with olive oil, cumin, salt, and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes. If at the 10 minute mark the smaller cauliflower pieces are picking up color too fast, turn your oven down to 400 degrees. (Those smaller bits will let you know if your oven is running hot by turning into crispy charred crumbs. Eat them, then turn your oven down.)

Place the sausages on another rimmed baking sheet, and add it to the oven with the cauliflower. Roast for 10 minutes, then flip the sausages and toss the cauliflower so that everything browns evenly. Cook for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the sausages are juicy and cooked through, and the cauliflower is tender and caramelized, about 25 minutes total from the time you put the sausages in the oven. [Note: my oven smokes almost every time I make this, though not to a deterring extent. Be ready to crack a window is all I’m saying.]

While the cauliflower and sausages are cooking, prepare the yogurt sauce. Place the yogurt in a small bowl, and using a microplane grate the garlic clove into the bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir everything together. (Alternatively, if you’re using sour cream or a thicker yogurt you may want to thin it with a little water or olive oil. I used an organic sour cream that was the thickest I’d ever used and a couple drops of olive oil blended in made the perfect texture.)

Dry toast the pine nuts for 5-7 minutes in a skillet over medium heat, if you are using them. Set aside in a bowl. If you leave them in the pan they may burn.

 Place the sausages on the sheet pan with the cauliflower (or a serving platter if you like doing dishes). Spoon the yogurt sauce on top, and sprinkle with pine nuts and Aleppo pepper. (I had just run out when I took these photos, boo.) Eat it straight from the pan if you’re me, or serve and share!