Arrosto Cavolfiore Pasta con Capperi al Sale Marino, Limone, Pangrattato e Parmigiano Reggiano…ie…Roasted Cauliflower Pasta with Capers in Sea Salt, Lemon, Bread Crumbs & Parmigiano Reggiano

I'm not quite sure what took me so long to figure out the magic of roasted cauliflower. Even with all the veggies roasted in the past, they just didn't include cauliflower. Pretty unbelievable, huh?
Over the last month or so, I've never seen bigger heads of this simple white veggie (usually reserved for veggie crudites) in the markets and I got curious. I figured it was about time to feature it in a pasta dish.

When putting a recipe together, it's based on ingredients "I" like. After perusing the internet, I chose two recipes and took a little of each to make it my way.
Thus, here's another recipe to add to the BestaPasta cookbook.

 

Ingredients:

-One small head cauliflower..app.2.5 lbs (florets only)
-10-12 oz. thin spaghetti, fini linguine, cappellini or, of course, your favorite shape. Pasta must be made in Italy and try to avoid all pastas labeled "Enriched Macaroni Product". Ingredients should be semolina and water only...and preferably organic. See July 7th, 2014 Fancy Food Show entry  if you are curious to learn more about "enriched" pastas.
-3-4 large cloves garlic
-5-6 TBSP EVOO
-3/4 cup Italian style/seasoned panko bread crumbs blended thoroughly with 1.5-2 TBSP EVOO
-Juice from 1/2 large lemon or 1 whole small lemon
-3 TBSP salt capers (rinsed)
-Kosher salt
-Black mill pepper
-Red crushed pepper (optional)
-Parmigiano Reggiano

Instructions Please read through thoroughly. My suggestions & technique...including this unique extra*** step adds a ton of flavor.

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees
-Wash & cut cauliflower into florets. In large bowl toss with 2 cloves pressed garlic, 3 TBSP EVOO and 1 tsp. kosher salt. Make sure to use your fingers to coat all of the floret surfaces with the oil/garlic blend. Place on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, turning/tossing once after 10 minutes.
After 20 minutes, toss again, turn off oven and let cauliflower sit in the oven another 10 minutes to complete the roasting process. Cauliflower should be lightly browned on the edges and center of most pieces. Roasting  for this amount of time plus the extra 10 minutes sitting time in the oven will assure the right texture through and through.
-While cauliflower is roasting:
1...Boil 6 quarts of water...remembering to add 2-3 tsp. kosher salt only just prior to adding pasta to pot.
2...Place in a frying pan the bread crumb/EVOO blend and heat on medium low for about 5-6 minutes constantly stirring until bread crumbs lightly brown. Using a fork, lightly press on the crumbs while mixing. After 5 minutes add rinsed capers (to remove salt)...toss and remove from heat. Let sit aside until pasta is finished cooking.
-Drain & slightly rinse pasta, reserving app. 1/2 cup of the hot starched water in which the pasta has just been cooked.
***Into the pasta pot, add 1 clove pressed or finely chopped garlic to 2 TBSP EVOO on medium high heat. When garlic gets golden (LESS THAN A MINUTE), add the starched water. Stand back a bit as the water and hot oil will create a steam...and...a wonderful aroma.
Immediately add the cauliflower, bread crumb and caper blend, lemon, 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, fresh mill pepper (a few turns), red pepper flakes if you choose and the pasta last. Toss GENTLY...lifting pasta and all ingredients repeatedly from bottom to top until you sense most of the starched water has evaporated (about one more minute).
-Serve immediately on a platter with grated Parmigiano Reggiano...and...Mangia Baby!

EVOO=Extra Virgin Olive Oil

As usual. please feel free to comment below. Would love to hear from you with any ideas or suggestions you may have.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Chef Bert

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