Roasted Cauliflower Pasta - Sweet and Savory Kitchens

Margaux says . . .

I’m really loving non-traditional pasta dishes like this with just a few ingredients tossed with some pasta.  Probably like most Americans, I always assumed pasta came with meat sauce, marinara, or, if you’re feeling fancy, Alfredo…Jason and I survived on spaghetti marinara for the first few years we were together, living in our dinky little basement apartment in Lincoln Park.  It was either that or Ramen noodles, and I really hate that stuff.  So it’s been really fun the past several years, since I’ve become a stay-at-home mom/foodie cook, discovering all pasta has to offer.

This Martha Stewart recipe has been sitting in my files for a few years now, and I really wish I would have pulled it out sooner!  The sweetness of the roasted cauliflower and onion coupled with the salty bite of the capers is really fantastic.  This is in the “can’t stop eating it” category, for sure.  We ate it as a main dish, with a green salad.  For those of you keeping track, my little picky eater loved it, too!

Aunt Suzy says . . . 

I’ve noticed lately that cauliflower seems to be the new kale.  It’s everywhere!  When I told Margaux that I wanted to make this cauliflower pasta recipe, she said she’d been intending to make this one from Martha.  So we’ve made both and this is our first post.  I’m not sure I know which is my favorite – I loved both.  Look for a post on the other recipe soon.  We served this as a side dish to a roasted chicken breast and served the leftovers as a main dish, both with a green salad.  Yum either way!

1 large head cauliflower cut into small chunks (about 7 cups)
1 red onion, halved lengthwise and then cut into 1/4″ thick slices
1/4-1/3 cup capers, rinsed
1/4 cup olive oil
12 oz orecchiette pasta, whole wheat recommended
1/2 cup coarsely chopped parsley
zest of 1 lemon, Meyer if available
1/3 cup grated Parmigiana Reggiano or Pecorino Romano

Preheat oven to 450. Toss the cauliflower, onion and capers with the olive oil in a mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Spread this mixture in a single layer on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Roast, stirring halfway through, until cauliflower is tender and brown, 25-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta, and cook, al dente, according to package directions.  Save 1/2 cup pasta water and then drain the pasta.

Turn the pasta back into the cooking pot or a large bowl.  Toss the hot pasta with the roasted cauliflower mixture, 1/4 cup of the pasta water,  the parsley and lemon zest.  Stir until completely combined.  Add more pasta water if too dry. Either add the cheese to the pot and stir to combine or pass the cheese to add to individual servings.

Aunt Suzy says . . .

This roasted cauliflower is not only delicious, it’s good for you!  In a prelude to the original recipe, it states “The turmeric, white peppercorns and coriander seeds are beneficial to the respiratory and circulatory systems; the kumquat, with its sour and bitter tastes, warms the chest and eases coughs.”  And I will say that the shallot I used was hot, hot, hot, –  adding to the overall warming effect.  Served with these Indian-spiced chicken burgers, which made for a great meal. A French Pinot Gris was a perfect match for the spices of these two dishes.

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

2 teaspoons ground turmeric

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 large clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

One 3-pound head of cauliflower, cored and separated into 1-inch florets

1 medium shallot, thinly sliced and separated into rings

4 kumquats, cut in half lengthwise, seeded and sliced

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Preheat the oven to 400°.

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, spices, salt, garlic and crushed red pepper.

Place the cauliflower on a large foil-lined rimmed baking sheet.  Drizzle the cauliflower with the olive oil mixture and toss to coat. Roast for 20-25 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender.  Check and stir after 15 minutes.  Scrape the cauliflower into a serving bowl. Add the sliced shallot, kumquats and cilantro and toss well. Can be served hot, warm or room temperature.