If we’ve discovered one thing it’s that nothing divides diners like our pappardelle. Thick, rustic pappardelle pasta is usually served with stews or hearty sauces made of wild boar or hare, the kind of thing you eat after a damp morning tramp through the mountains in late October when you can see your breath and your face stings from the cold. Since we don’t serve wild boar at Dirt Candy we decided to tweak the dish and keep it hearty but make it slightly sweet. We added raisins to the tomato sauce, which sweeten the dish, then we top it with roasted cauliflower and pine nuts. Only, instead of just throwing in some pine nuts we take them, dehydrate them, roll them into sheets, let them dry and crumble them on top so that they look like pieces of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, but instead of the sharp bite of the cheese you get the soothing, subtle flavor of pine nuts.
Now, cauliflower and pine nuts are not the two most explosive and overwhelming flavors on earth, but we wanted to make a hearty dish that’s predominantly sweet balanced by their more mellow flavors – your palate’s got to do a little thinking on this one. Some people take to the pappardelle like ducks to water, and it’s one of our biggest sellers. But some folks just don’t like sweetness in their pasta, and some don’t want a pasta dish with these kind of lighter flavors. And that’s fine by us, every dish isn’t for every person. We’ve learned that some people are Pappardelle people and others just aren’t – and there’s no way to know until you’ve tried it.