In my current job, I drive, a lot. In addition to about a ninety minute a day commute, I’m also often on the road to go to meeting in other towns. I find, however, that I actually enjoy the time in the car, as it allows me to listen to books I might not otherwise get around to reading and listen to podcasts I almost never had time to listen to before. One of my favorite podcasts is Spilled Milk. Molly Wizenberg and Matthew Amster-Burton do a weekly podcast, eating and talking about all types of food. Last week, as I made the trek from one town to another, I listened as Molly and Matthew talked about cauliflower. The takeaway for me was that cauliflower tastes best when it is sliced thin, drizzled with olive oil and salt and roasted. And that I rarely ever eat cauliflower. I decided I needed to immediately get ahold of some cauliflower and try to roast it, since I’ve yet to meet a vegetable I didn’t like drizzled with olive oil and salt and roasted.
I decided to keep this pasta dish simple. It consists of little more than pasta, cauliflower, some toasted pine nuts, red pepper flakes, a few capers, and some parmesan cheese, all drizzled with more olive oil. I would imagine it would also be good with a bit of finely chopped red onion or some crispy garlic, but since these are intended for my lunch, I thought I’d avoid anything too garlicky. I think it is essential to use real parmesan here – we’ve fallen into a habit of buying parmesan in a tub, which is a slight step up from parmesan in a can, but not quite the real thing. The hardest part of this recipe was resisting the urge to eat all the cauliflower right off the pan.
Roasted Cauliflower Pasta
1 head cauliflower, sliced in thin pieces
Olive oil for drizzling
4 cup cooked pasta
4 teaspoons capers
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup pine nuts
Parmesan cheese to taste
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay the slices of cauliflower in a single layer. Drizzle olive oil over the sliced cauliflower and sprinkle with salt. Bake for fifteen minutes.
Toast the pine nuts in a small, dry skillet over low heat. Stir several times. Take off the heat when the pine nuts are aromatic and light golden brown.
Combine the pasta, capers, red pepper flakes, toasted pine nuts, and cauliflower. Drizzle with a splash more olive oil and grate parmesan over the top.