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Cookbook Review: Cooking Confidence

With an introduction and 6 sections of recipes, Joanne Weir’s newest cookbook, Joanne Weir’s Cooking Confidence: Dinner Made Simple, gets right down to business.

Her goal is to help people cook with confidence (hah….I couldn’t resist that), in each section she covers various techniques, such as whipping egg whites, making asparagus ribbons and many more. It also touches on pairing the recipes with wines, dessert ideas and ways to round out meals. While the book is omnivore with a heavy slant to meat, it does have many lovely ideas that are vegetarian or could be adjusted easily enough. The photography in particular is lush and will pull you in.

I chose a pasta recipe to try, having a love affair with oven roasted cauliflower. I slightly adapted the recipe, using whole grain pasta shells, where the recipe called for orecchiette. Suffice to say finding that shape locally isn’t easy, so a quick substitution was made. The recipe was a success, The Teenager had seconds and The Toddler ate his whole plate without any prodding. Success indeed.

I did use some dairy for this. It was the sad pleas of the teen. And I get it…plant-based is OK but once in awhile he needs a treat.

Pasta with Cauliflower, Brown Butter & Fried Capers


  • 1 head cauliflower (about 2 pounds)
  • 6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 12 to 13.25 ounces medium pasta shapes, preferably whole-grain or whole-wheat
  • ¼ cup capers, rinsed, drained and patted dry
  • 2 small or 1 big lemon
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese or Pecorino-Romano cheese


Preheat oven to 400°. Core the cauliflower, cutting into bite size florets. Add to a glass oven-safe 9×13″ pan, toss with 3 Tablespoons of the olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring half-way through, until fork tender and turning golden.

Zest the lemon(s), juice them and set both aside.

Heat a large pot of lightly salted water, bring to boil. Cook pasta for time on package, drain.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium, add butter. Melt and let cook until the foam subsides and the butter turns golden brown. Take off the heat, add in the garlic, red pepper and cauliflower, stir to coat. Stir in the lemon juice and zest.

While the butter is browning, heat a small heavy pot or frying pan over medium-high, add remaining 3 Tablespoons olive oil, let heat until shimmering  Add in the capers, cook for a minute or two  until crispy and golden. Line a plate with a couple of paper towels, pour the capers on to drain.

Toss the hot pasta with the cauliflower, adding in the capers and most of the cheese, tossing gently to coat.

Serve immediately with a bit of cheese on top.


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