Garlic Cauliflower Penne
Unexpected ingredients, amazing flavor.
If you’re a diehard cauliflower fan then you’ll already love this recipe. But, for those who don’t have a longstanding love affair with this cruciferous vegetable it can be hard to get them on board. This garlic cauliflower penne combines cauliflower with roasted garlic, crisp lemon juice, and crunchy walnuts for a dynamic pasta dish that’s as unique as it is tasty.
To ensure that the cauliflower is nice and tender you’ll need to roast it in the oven with some olive oil and spices. On the same pan as the cauliflower you’ll roast the garlic. To do this place 10 cloves of peeled garlic inside a piece of foil and then ball it up. Place the parcel on the pan and then let the oven do the rest of the work.
This might sound like a lot of garlic, but it’s actually the perfect amount since the garlic caramelizes and becomes sweet and mild when cooked this way.
Take the pan out of the oven when the cauliflower is just beginning to develop some color. By this point the garlic will be completely cooked with a soft texture. Carefully open the packet and transfer the garlic to a small bowl. Then mash the garlic with the back of a fork to make a paste.
Once you make a sauce from the garlic, some Parmesan, and some lemon juice add the cooked pasta and cauliflower to the sauce. The final step is to add some more cheese and bit of walnuts to the dish. Nuts might not be an obvious choice when making pasta, but in this dish they really add a lot of texture and some mellow flavor to the other ingredients.
For an unexpected take on pasta night this garlic cauliflower penne brings home the flavor with a blend of fresh, zesty, creamy, and crunchy. It’s the ideal dish when you want a satisfying veggie pasta meal, but also works great if you serve it as a side, too.
Garlic Cauliflower Penne
20m prep time
45m cook time
- 3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- 10 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 lb penne (or other cylinder pasta)
- 3/4 cup grated parmesan, plus extra for serving
- juice of 1 small lemon
- 1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts
- Preheat oven to 425˚F. Toss cauliflower with olive oil on baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Wrap garlic in foil and place on pan with cauliflower. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cauliflower is fork tender and beginning to brown.
- Remove garlic from foil and smash with back of fork. Set aside.
- Cook pasta to al dente and reserve 1/2 cup pasta water. Drain pasta and set aside. Add cheese, garlic, pasta water, and lemon juice to pasta pan. Stir to create a sauce. Add salt, pepper, and more chili flakes to taste if desired.
- Add pasta and cauliflower to pan and toss to coat. Add walnuts and stir. Serve with more parmesan cheese on top.
Recipe adapted from Delish.