Roasted Cauliflower Pasta

Adapted from Cooks Illustrated Sept/Oct 2009

*Please note that you could skip the roasted garlic part and use our Garlic Infused Olive Oil, but I really, really love the complexity the roasted garlic adds to this dish.

**Also note that I have been making this recipe since 2009 and stopped measuring things around 2010, so the actual measurements given are approximations only. Proceed.

  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1/2 c. (ish) olive oil, divided
  • salt, pepper, red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb. Campanelle or Orecchiette Pasta
  • 1 c. (ish) chopped Walnuts
  • 1 lemon, juiced (or 2, if you really like lemon)
  • 1/2 c. Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425.  Slice off the papery end of the garlic bulb, drizzle it with a bit of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, wrap it in foil, place it on a baking sheet and stick it in the oven.  While that's getting started, chop up your cauliflower.  Put the cauliflower in a large bowl and toss with a good bit (2 Tbsp.?) of olive oil, a healthy sprinkle of salt and pepper. a pinch of sugar, and a shake of red pepper flakes (optional).

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Remove the hot baking sheet with garlic from the oven and (quickly) put the cauliflower onto the sheet.  Return to the oven, and bake, turning once, for 30 minutes or so.  You might want to check on your garlic after 20 minutes and make sure it's still soft and not burning. Oh, and add your chopped walnuts to the baking sheet when there's 5 minutes left for the cauliflower, so they get a bit toasty.

Once your water is boiling, add in pasta and cook according to package directions.  Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water before draining it.  I like the put the cooked pasta back in the same bowl that I tossed my cauliflower in, so as to use any left-over oil.

Remove everything from the oven. Put the cauliflower and walnuts in the same big bowl as the pasta. Once the garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze out the roasted cloves (I start with half of the cloves, to make sure it's not too overpoweringly garlicky) into a medium bowl with the remaining olive oil and juice from a lemon.  Whisk it all together with some salt and pepper, until smooth. Pour it over the pasta, adding in the reserved pasta water if it seems too dry. Add on the Parmesan and toss well. Voila!

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