Creamy Tomato Penne with Roasted Cauliflower

Creamy Tomato Penne

with Roasted Cauliflower

35 MIN
4 Servings
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From the Test Kitchen

This easy pasta gets plenty of flavor from classic Italian seasonings, creamy quark cheese, and briny capers. For nutty-sweet flavor and a bit of crispy contrast, we’re roasting cauliflower in thick slices, then chopping it and tossing it with the pasta.

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  • Nutrition
    PER SERVING
  • Calories
    640 Cals (est.)
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tips & techniques
Roast & chop the cauliflower:
1 Roast & chop the cauliflower:

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven, then preheat to 450°F. Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling on high. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Cut off and discard the stem end and leaves of the cauliflower. Cut the head into 1-inch-thick pieces. Place on a sheet pan. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper; turn to coat. Arrange in an even layer. Roast 25 to 27 minutes, or until browned and tender when pierced with a fork. Transfer the roasted cauliflower to a cutting board. When cool enough to handle, roughly chop.

Prepare the remaining ingredients:
2 Prepare the remaining ingredients:

While the cauliflower roasts, peel and roughly chop the garlic. Roughly chop the capers. Grate the Pecorino cheese on the small side of a box grater.

Cook the pasta:
3 Cook the pasta:

While the cauliflower continues to roast, add the pasta to the pot of boiling water and cook 10 to 12 minutes, or until al dente (still slightly firm to the bite). Turn off the heat. Reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water, drain thoroughly and return to the pot.

Make the sauce:
4 Make the sauce:

While the pasta cooks, in a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the chopped garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until slightly softened and fragrant. Add the tomato paste, Italian seasoning, and as much of the red pepper flakes as you’d like, depending on how spicy you’d like the dish to be. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes, or until thoroughly combined and fragrant. Add the tomatoes and 1/2 cup of water (carefully, as the liquid may splatter); season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 6 to 7 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Turn off the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Finish & serve your dish:
5 Finish & serve your dish:

To the pot of cooked pasta, add the sauce, chopped cauliflower, butter, quark cheese, chopped capers, and half the reserved pasta cooking water; season with salt and pepper. Cook on medium-high, stirring vigorously, 1 to 2 minutes, or until combined and heated through. (If the pasta seems dry, gradually add the remaining cooking water to achieve your desired consistency.) Turn off the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish the finished pasta with the grated Pecorino cheese. Enjoy!

Tips from Home Chefs

Roast & chop the cauliflower:
1 Roast & chop the cauliflower:

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven, then preheat to 450°F. Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling on high. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Cut off and discard the stem end and leaves of the cauliflower. Cut the head into 1-inch-thick pieces. Place on a sheet pan. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper; turn to coat. Arrange in an even layer. Roast 25 to 27 minutes, or until browned and tender when pierced with a fork. Transfer the roasted cauliflower to a cutting board. When cool enough to handle, roughly chop.

2 Prepare the remaining ingredients:

While the cauliflower roasts, peel and roughly chop the garlic. Roughly chop the capers. Grate the Pecorino cheese on the small side of a box grater.

Prepare the remaining ingredients:
Cook the pasta:
3 Cook the pasta:

While the cauliflower continues to roast, add the pasta to the pot of boiling water and cook 10 to 12 minutes, or until al dente (still slightly firm to the bite). Turn off the heat. Reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water, drain thoroughly and return to the pot.

4 Make the sauce:

While the pasta cooks, in a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the chopped garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until slightly softened and fragrant. Add the tomato paste, Italian seasoning, and as much of the red pepper flakes as you’d like, depending on how spicy you’d like the dish to be. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes, or until thoroughly combined and fragrant. Add the tomatoes and 1/2 cup of water (carefully, as the liquid may splatter); season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 6 to 7 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Turn off the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Make the sauce:
Finish & serve your dish:
5 Finish & serve your dish:

To the pot of cooked pasta, add the sauce, chopped cauliflower, butter, quark cheese, chopped capers, and half the reserved pasta cooking water; season with salt and pepper. Cook on medium-high, stirring vigorously, 1 to 2 minutes, or until combined and heated through. (If the pasta seems dry, gradually add the remaining cooking water to achieve your desired consistency.) Turn off the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish the finished pasta with the grated Pecorino cheese. Enjoy!

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