Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower

Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower

Maybe it’s because they’re both white, or perhaps it’s because they both tend to take in flavors from their surroundings, or maybe it’s because they both have a strong affinity for cheese. Whatever the reason, people just don’t put pasta with cauliflower often enough. And by “people” I mean people other than me. I do it … a lot. 

Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower
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  1. 1 large head of cauliflower, broken into bite-size pieces
  2. 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  3. 4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  4. 1 (14-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained
  5. 4 cloves garlic, minced
  6. 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  7. 1/2 lb. penne or rigatoni pasta
  8. 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, plus extra for topping
  9. 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  10. 1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
  11. 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  1. Crank oven to 400 degrees F and give it least 20 minutes to get good and hot.
  2. Toss the cauliflower with oil and 1 teaspoon salt in a 10" cast iron skillet and roast in the oven for 30 minutes, carefully stirring halfway through.
  3. Remove skillet from oven and place over medium heat. Add the tomatoes, garlic and red pepper flakes and occasionally, breaking up the tomatoes as they soften. Most of the tomato liquid has cooked out, about 5 minutes, remove from heat.
  4. Drop the uncooked pasta into a large saucepan and fill with enough cold water to cover the noodles by 1 inch. Stir in remaining salt and place over high heat. When the water comes to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and stir once a minute for 5 minutes or until the pasta is al dente.
  5. Use a spider to transfer the cooked pasta into the skillet with the cauliflower mixture followed by a quarter cup of the pasta water. Stir in Parmesan and cheddar cheeses, and top with bread crumbs.
  6. Return the skillet to the oven and cook another 15 to 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the bread crumbs are golden brown. Remove and sprinkle with chopped parsley and additional Parmesan if that's your jam.
  7. Cool for 5 minutes before serving or you'll burn your face off.


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  1. 1
    Elaine Gelb

    Because many of us look for recipes hurriedly once we realize it’s almost dinner time, instructions should be clear enough that they need not be studied intensely for every detail before starting to cook. In this recipe there were 2 points that need more clarity. After roasting the cauliflower you should note to leave the oven on since you will be returning the skillet to the oven later. And after heating the pasta it should instruct you to reserve the pasta water before the instructions for removing the pasta – once I transferred the pasta I emptied the pot in the sink to make room, before I saw the rest of the sentence! Even with these omissions, I really loved this dish – I had been looking for a cauliflower with pasta dish since my favorite authentic Italian restaurant stopped making it, and this is just as good!

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