I have a simple philosophy. Almost any vegetable side dish can be turned into an entrée simply by tossing it with pasta and this dish definitely proves it and then some.
Cauliflower is one of those vegetables that isn’t the best thing raw, but can be exponentially improved by roasting which brings out all sorts of awesome caramelization flavors and textures. Tossed with tons of roasted garlic and bright lemon juice, this is a delicious side-turned-entrée no doubt, and thankfully one of those things that could easily be served winter, spring, summer or fall.
Update: Just wanted to say a big “Thank you!” to Fine Cooking magazine for featuring this post in their Best of the Blogs. Thanks again!
Garlic Roasted Cauliflower Pasta
Based on the recipe from Ina Garten’s “How Easy Is That?”
To toast pine nuts, place them in a dry sauté pan and cook over low heat, tossing frequently, until lightly browned (about 6-10 minutes).
Makes about 4 servings
- 1 head of garlic, cloves separated but not peeled
- 1 large head of cauliflower, trimmed, cut into florets
- 4½ tablespoons good olive oil, divided
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup minced fresh parsley
- 3 Tbsp. toasted pine nuts
- 2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 6 oz. fresh (refrigerated) linguine
1.) Preheat oven to 450° F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the garlic cloves. Boil for 15 seconds. Fish out the cloves, peel and cut off any brown parts. Cut the largest cloves in half lengthwise. Keep the water simmering.
2.) On a sheet pan, toss the cauliflower with garlic, 3 Tbsp. olive oil, 2 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper. Spread mixture out in a single layer and roast for 20-25 minutes, tossing twice, until the cauliflower is tender and garlic is lightly browned. When the cauliflower is about 5 minutes away from being done, season the water with salt and some olive oil. Toss the pasta into the boiling water and cook until al dente. Reserve some of the pasta water, then drain and put pasta in large mixing bowl.
3.) Scrape the cauliflower with garlic and pan juices into large mixing bowl with pasta. Add remaining 1½ Tbsp. olive oil, parsley, pine nuts and lemon juice. Sprinkle with another ½ tsp. salt. Toss everything together, adding pasta water if needed to loosen the sauce.