Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower

  • Yield 6 servings

Humble and regal at the same time, here’s a cauliflower and pasta dish to soothe the soul.

Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower and Breadcrumbs
Teresa Blackburn

Panko works better than fresh breadcrumbs for this, offering lovely texture and crunch against the tender cauliflower and pasta.


2 pounds cauliflower florets, trimmed (about 2 medium head)
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
12 ounces dried rigatoni (or other) chunky pasta
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or to taste)
2/3 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint


  1. Preheat oven to 500F.
  2. Slice cauliflower florets into halves vertically (quarters if large), toss with 2 tablespoons oil, and place cut-side down on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Roast 10 minutes, turn cauliflower and roast 5 minutes more, or until tender and browned.
  3. Cook pasta according to package directions, reserving 1/2 cup cooking water. While pasta is cooking, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet. Add panko, and cook 3 minutes or until browned. Set aside.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon each oil and butter in skillet.  Add sliced garlic, and sauté until golden. Add red pepper and anchovy paste, stirring well; add cauliflower and toss well.
  5. Return drained pasta to pot with 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Add cauliflower mixture and Romano, cover and cook 3 minutes. Stir in mint and black pepper. Spoon into serving bowls and sprinkle with the toasted breadcrumbs.

Wine Pairing: Bright Italian reds go beautifully with Pecorino Romano, so reach for Caldora Montepulciano d’Abruzzo ($11), a bottle with a great balance of fruit, spice, and a little zip on the finish.—Wini Moranville, Relish wine columnist



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