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.
Deborah Mele 2011
- 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
- Grated Pecorino or Parmesan Cheese
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Core the cauliflower and cut the entire cauliflower into bite sized pieces (about 1 1/2 inches in size).
- Toss the cauliflower and sliced garlic with the olive oil and salt and pepper and place it on a foil lined baking sheet.
- Roast the cauliflower until it is tender and golden brown, stirring every so often, about 25 minutes.
- While the cauliflower is roasting, heat a large pot of salted water to boil.
- Cook the pasta according to manufacturers directions until "al dente", then drain, reserving a small cup of pasta water.
- Toss the pasta with the sun-dried tomato pesto and loosen with some of the pasta water to coat the pasta well.
- 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.
- Serve immediately, offering grated cheese at the table.