In this article, we’ll show you how to make Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower, Garlic, and Walnuts. WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS ? High-heat roasting transforms cauliflower from a mild-mannered vegetable to an intensely flavored, sweet, nutty foil for pasta. To achieve a golden exterior, we sliced the cauliflower into wedges for maximum surface area while leaving the core and florets intact. Tossing the cauliflower with sugar jump-started the browning; preheating the baking sheet also helped. Cream-based sauces muted the nutty cauliflower flavor, and pestos overwhelmed it, so we focused on a simple lemony vinaigrette with roasted garlic.
- 2 garlic heads, top quarter cut off to expose garlic cloves
- 6 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus extra as needed
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 head cauliflower (2 pounds)
- Salt and pepper
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- 1 pound campanelle
- 1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (½ cup), plus extra for serving
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- ¼ cup walnuts, toasted and chopped coarse
How to make Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower
- Adjust oven rack to middle position, place large rimmed baking sheet on rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees. Place garlic heads, cut side up, in center of 12-inch square of aluminum foil. Drizzle each with ½ teaspoon oil and wrap securely. Place packet on oven rack and roast until garlic is very tender, about 40 minutes. Transfer packet to cutting board, let cool for 10 minutes, then unwrap garlic. Gently squeeze to remove cloves from skin, transfer to small bowl, and mash smooth with fork. Stir lemon juice and pepper flakes into mashed garlic, then slowly whisk in ¼ cup oil.
- Meanwhile, remove outer leaves from cauliflower and cut stalk flush with bottom. Cut head from pole to pole into 8 equal wedges. Toss cauliflower with remaining 2 tablespoons oil, 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and sugar in bowl. Remove baking sheet from oven.
- Carefully lay cauliflower, cut sides down, on hot baking sheet in even layer. Roast cauliflower until well browned and tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer cauliflower to cutting board, let cool slightly, then cut into ½-inch pieces.
- Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring often, until al dente. Reserve 1 cup cooking water, then drain pasta and return it to pot. Add chopped cauliflower, garlic sauce, Parmesan, parsley, and ¼ cup reserved cooking water and toss to combine. Season with salt, pepper, and extra lemon juice to taste and add reserved cooking water as needed to adjust consistency.
- Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower is ready to be served, Sprinkle individual portions with walnuts and serve with extra Parmesan.
To cut cauliflower into sizable pieces for roasting, first trim base of stalk. Then place head upside down and cut cauliflower crown in half through stalk. Cut each half of crown in half to make 4 wedges, and each of those in half again to make 8 equal wedges.