Pasta With Cauliflower

This is a fairly easy to make dinner that takes only a little prep work, a pasta pot and a skillet.  It is pretty healthy if you go easy on the cheese!  And like most pasta dishes, it’s great the next day after the flavors have time to blend overnight…

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower, chopped into small florets
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced 
  • 3 TBS olive oil
  • 2 cups chicken stock (you can also use chicken broth or vegetable broth)
  • 12 oz small cut pasta like a short rigatoni or orecchiette
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 TBS chopped Italian parsley and/or basil
  • 2 TBS unsalted butter (or butter alternative like Brummel & Brown yogurt spread)
  • 1 cup freshly grated (if possible) parmiggiano romano cheese 
Ingredients for Bread Crumb Topping:
  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs made from a few slices of Italian bread
  • 1 TBS chopped Italian parsley
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp fresh lemon zest
Optional:
  • Add baked chicken to the dish (especially good with leftovers).                                       Bake chicken breast tenderloins covered in olive oil, and seasoned with salt, pepper and oregano at 375 for 18-20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

In a large skillet with high sides, (like my absolute FAVORITE skillet ever, Paula Deen’s 5 qt. covered deep saute pan) add the olive oil and garlic and let it sizzle over medium heat for 30-60 seconds until garlic becomes fragrant.
Add the cauliflower, season with sea salt & pepper and saute for 9 minutes or until most of the cauliflower is turning a golden brown.

Add the chicken stock and cover, simmer on medium heat for about 15 minutes or until cauliflower is tender.

Meanwhile, boil water for your pasta and cook according to package directions.  Reserve 1/4 cup of starchy cooking water when draining pasta.

Add pasta to skillet with cauliflower, add the starchy water, butter, parsley and cheese.  Stir then cook for another minute or two on medium to let sauce thicken and coat the pasta.
Take skillet off heat and set aside, covered.

To make topping, add olive oil to a small skillet and let it preheat over medium heat.  Add your bread crumbs, parsley, and lemon zest and let it toast until the bread crumbs are toasty and crunchy.

Sprinkle topping on pasta and serve!

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