Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower, Parsley, and Breadcrumbs

This simple pasta recipe caught my eye because I adore roasted cauliflower.  In fact, I love all roasted vegetables.  Tossing veggies with a little olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper and roasting at 425 – 475 degrees is a super simple but incredibly flavorful way to prepare vegetables.  Cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes, squash, onions, mushrooms, asparagus, eggplant are all delicious roasted.

The only change I made to this recipe was using ready-made breadcrumbs.  I wanted to avoid having to clean my food processor.  I did toast the breadcrumbs in the oven but omitted the oil.  The freshly-made breadcrumbs probably need the oil to come together but I didn’t think the oil was necessary with the store-bought crumbs.

The pasta came together beautifully (don’t forget your reserved pasta water) and was a quite satisfying vegetarian meal.  Enjoy!

Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower, Parsley, and Breadcrumbs
Everyday Food

  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 head cauliflower (about 2 1/2 pounds), cored and broken into small florets
  • 1 medium red onion, halved and cut into thin wedges
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 slices white sandwich bread
  • 12 ounces cavatappi or other short pasta
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving (optional)
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 475 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Set a large pot of salted water to boil. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss cauliflower, onion, and garlic with 2 tablespoons oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast on lower rack until lightly browned and tender, 20 minutes, tossing once.

Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine bread and remaining 2 tablespoons oil; pulse until coarse crumbs form. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake on upper rack until golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes, tossing once.

Cook pasta in boiling water until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water; drain pasta and return to pot. Add cauliflower mixture, Parmesan, and parsley; toss to combine. Tossing pasta, gradually add enough pasta water to form a thin sauce that coats pasta. Serve topped with breadcrumbs and, if desired, more Parmesan.

Cauliflower tastes surprisingly nutty and sweet when roasted. Break it up into small florets to help it cook quickly. We like cavatappi, but any short pasta will work.

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