We are big fans of cauliflower, especially roasted cauliflower. Now if you start with nutty roasted cauliflower, and add some Parmesan, some chopped prosciutto, a few roasted tomatoes, some garlic, and stir in some tender greens like baby arugula or spinach, and some pasta, you are firing on all taste cylinders. Tomatoes for the sweet and acid, greens for the bitter, and Parmesan and prosciutto for the salt and umami make this pasta dish almost impossible to put down once you start. My father found this recipe in a recent issue of Fine Cooking, one of our favorite magazines. We adapted it a little, found that we wanted more cauliflower and less pasta than the original recipe called for, and made a few other minor changes.
If cherry tomatoes aren't available, you can skip them and add a few chopped sun dried tomatoes to the dish at the end.
- 1/2 medium cauliflower, cored and broken up into 3/4-inch florets (4+ cups)
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- Olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried sage
- 4 large cloves garlic
- 4 ounces of prosciutto
- 8 ounces orecchiette pasta
- 5 ounces baby arugula or spinach, cleaned and coarsely chopped
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 Preheat oven to 425°F. Lay out cauliflower and tomatoes in a roasting pan, coat with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until just lightly browned and cooked through, about 15 minutes.
2 Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (1 teaspoon salt for every quart of water).
3 While water is heating, pulse garlic, sage, and prosciutto together in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Once cauliflower has browned lightly, remove from oven, toss cauliflower with garlic prosciutto mixture, and return to oven to cook for 5-7 minutes more.
4 Boil pasta uncovered (rolling boil) for 9-10 minutes until firm, but done (al dente). Reserve one cup of pasta liquid. Drain water from pot. Add cauliflower, tomatoes, arugula (or spinach), and Parmesan to the pasta. Stir in enough cooking water to moisten. Add salt and pepper to taste.