Pasta With Roasted Cauliflower

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Although I could easily eat pasta every day of the week, I do try and limit my pasta addiction to two or three times a week. I also try very hard to ensure my pasta choices are healthy ones, and I either use a whole grain pasta, or I create a pasta such as this one where the pasta almost takes a backseat to vegetables. My husband and I absolutely adore roasted vegetables, and have even created whole meals around them. Roasted cauliflower is phenomenal, and if you have never tried it, I highly recommend that you do so very soon. Cauliflower becomes an entirely different vegetable when roasted….. full of flavor, and quite delicious (at least in my mind). I used a large fusilli pasta shape for my pasta in this dish, and cooked it very “al dente” which is my husband’s preference and actually healthier for you.

The “sauce” for this dish is basically roasted cauliflower, then capers and Kalamata olives are added, giving the dish LOTS of flavor. I included an entire small red chili pepper because my husband likes lots of heat in our pasta dishes, but you can adjust this to meet your own personal tastes. The coarse breadcrumbs really add texture and should only be added at the very end. By adding some of the pasta cooking water when the pasta and other ingredients are combined really melds the flavors together and is integral to a dish such as this one. Parsley leaves add a fresh flavor and I highly recommend using shaved Pecorino Romano cheese instead of Parmesan cheese for this dish as Pecorino has a much more pronounced flavor.

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Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2014

Pasta With Roasted Cauliflower

Ingredients:

  • 4 Slices Crusty Italian Bread
  • 2 Small Heads Cauliflower, Cut Into Florets
  • 5 Tablespoons Olive Oil, Divided
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, Divided
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 Red Hot Chili Pepper, Minced (Optional – See Notes Above)
  • 1/3 Cup Kalamata Olives, Pitted & Sliced
  • 3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 3 Tablespoons Capers, Drained
  • 1/3 Cup Fresh Parsley Leaves
  • 3/4 Pound Pasta Of Choice (See Notes)

To Serve:

  • Grated or Shaved Pecorino Romano Cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place bread on a baking sheet, and bake until crisp and dry, about 20 minutes.
  3. Rub the bread with one garlic clove, brush with 2 tablespoons olive oil, then cool to room temperature.
  4. Once cool, tear bread into pieces and place in food processor and pulse until you have coarse crumbs.
  5. Set aside.
  6. Place the cauliflower florets on a baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, pepper, and red pepper.
  7. Bake, stirring after 10 minutes, until the cauliflower is lightly browned and tender, about 10 minutes.
  8. Cook pasta in a large pot of lightly salted water until it is “al dente”.
  9. Peel and thinly slice remaining garlic cloves.
  10. While pasta is cooking, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil, and cook the garlic until fragrant, one to two minutes.
  11. Once pasta has cooked, take a small cup of pasta water and set aside before draining.
  12. Return drained pasta to the pot, and then add the cauliflower, garlic and olive oil, 1/2 cup pasta water, lemon juice, capers, olives, and parsley leaves.
  13. Cook for a minute or two over high heat, until piping hot.
  14. Serve in 4 individual bowls, sprinkling breadcrumbs on top, then offer grated cheese at table.