Fusilli With Roasted Cauliflower & Sun-dried Tomato Pesto


January has arrived, so there are once again many folks who are looking to get into shape, eat healthier, and maybe even lose a few pounds. I am trying to focus on the “eat healthier” part and along with the extra exercise I am trying to fit into my days, hope that the rest will fall into place as well. The one thing I absolutely cannot give up is pasta, although I do my best to make healthier choices, both with the type of pasta I choose as well as the sauces I use along with my pasta. I personally prefer De Cecco or Barilla whole wheat brands of pasta, or I also use Barilla Plus pasta, depending on the shape of pasta I am looking to buy, or what is available at my local stores. When we enjoy pasta at home, we keep our portions to 100 grams per person (about 3 1/2 ounces) of dry uncooked pasta, and round out the meal with lots of vegetables and salad.

This pasta dish came about when I decided I wanted a cauliflower based pasta dish, but one with lots of flavor. Obviously, cauliflower isn’t the most exciting tasting vegetable, so I used some of my favorite Sun-dried Tomato & Chili Pesto to dress cooked whole wheat fusilli pasta to add an extra punch of flavor, and then tossed the pasta with roasted cauliflower before serving. The combination was a winner and it is an easy throw together meal I know I will make again and again. If you want to try this dish but do not want to make my Sun-dried Tomato & Chili Pesto recipe, you can simply puree oil packed sun-dried tomatoes with some olive oil in a blender of food processor and get a similar taste.

 

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2011

Roasted Cauliflower & Sun-dried Tomato Pasta

An easy to assemble healthy pasta dish with lots of flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Medium Sized Head Cauliflower
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Peeled & Sliced Thin
  • 2 Tablespoons extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1/3 – 1/2 Cup Sun-dried Tomato & Chili Pesto (Or Similar Amount Pureed Sun-dried Tomatoes Packed In Oil)
  • 1/3 Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley
  • 1 Pound Package Whole Wheat Fusilli Pasta

To Serve:

  • Grated Pecorino or Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Core the cauliflower and cut the entire cauliflower into bite sized pieces (about 1 1/2 inches in size).
  3. Toss the cauliflower and sliced garlic with the olive oil and salt and pepper and place it on a foil lined baking sheet.
  4. Roast the cauliflower until it is tender and golden brown, stirring every so often, about 25 minutes.
  5. While the cauliflower is roasting, heat a large pot of salted water to boil.
  6. Cook the pasta according to manufacturers directions until “al dente”, then drain, reserving a small cup of pasta water.
  7. Toss the pasta with the sun-dried tomato pesto and loosen with some of the pasta water to coat the pasta well.
  8. Return the pasta pot to the heat and add the cauliflower, stir, and cook for a minute or two to combine, adding a little additional pasta water if the sauce seems too dry.
  9. Serve immediately, offering grated cheese at the table.