Roasted Cauliflower Pasta with Lemon, Capers, & Garlic Breadcrumbs

Roasted Cauliflower Pasta

with Lemon, Capers, & Garlic Breadcrumbs

30 MIN
2 Servings
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From the Test Kitchen

Cauliflower takes center stage in tonight’s recipe. We’re roasting it to bring out its naturally nutty flavor, then tossing it with orecchiette pasta—whose name means “little ears” in Italian. Briny capers and a touch of lemon zest and juice add brightness to the dish, completed with the delightful crunch of garlic-toasted breadcrumbs. (You may receive green Romanesco, white, orange, or purple cauliflower.)

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  • Nutrition
    PER SERVING
  • Calories
    690 Cals (est.)
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tips & techniques
Prepare & roast the cauliflower:
1 Prepare & roast the cauliflower:

Place your oven rack in the center of the oven, then preheat to 450°F. Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling on high. Wash and dry the cauliflower. Cut out and discard the core, then cut the head into small pieces. Place on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper; toss to thoroughly coat. Arrange in a single layer. Roast 19 to 21 minutes, or until browned and tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven. Set aside in a warm place.

Prepare the remaining ingredients:
2 Prepare the remaining ingredients:

While the cauliflower roasts, peel the garlic; thinly slice 1 clove. Finely chop the remaining clove; using the flat side of your knife, smash until it resembles a paste (or use a zester). Peel and thinly slice the shallot. Wash and dry the lemon. Using a peeler, remove the yellow rind, avoiding the white pith; mince the rind to get 2 teaspoons of zest (or use a zester). Quarter and deseed the lemon.

Make the garlic breadcrumbs:
3 Make the garlic breadcrumbs:

While the cauliflower continues to roast, in a large pan, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the garlic paste; cook, stirring constantly, 30 to 45 seconds, or until fragrant. Add the breadcrumbs; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 2 to 3 minutes, or until browned. Transfer to a bowl. Wipe out the pan.

Cook the pasta:
4 Cook the pasta:

While the cauliflower continues to roast, add the pasta to the pot of boiling water. Cook 6 to 8 minutes, or until al dente (still slightly firm to the bite). Reserving ½ cup of the pasta cooking water, drain thoroughly.

Cook the aromatics:
5 Cook the aromatics:

While the pasta cooks, in the same pan, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium until hot. Add the shallot, capers, sliced garlic, 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 occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, or until softened and fragrant. Turn off the heat.

Finish the pasta & plate your dish:
6 Finish the pasta & plate your dish:

Add the butter, cooked pasta, roasted cauliflower, lemon zest, the juice of 2 lemon wedges, and half the reserved pasta cooking water to the pan. Cook on medium-high, stirring vigorously, 1 to 2 minutes, or until the pasta is coated. (If the sauce seems dry, gradually add the remaining pasta cooking water to achieve your desired consistency.) Turn off the heat; season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide between 2 dishes. Garnish with the garlic breadcrumbs and cheese. Serve with the remaining lemon wedges on the side, if you’d like. Enjoy!

Tips from Home Chefs

1 Prepare & roast the cauliflower:

Place your oven rack in the center of the oven, then preheat to 450°F. Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling on high. Wash and dry the cauliflower. Cut out and discard the core, then cut the head into small pieces. Place on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper; toss to thoroughly coat. Arrange in a single layer. Roast 19 to 21 minutes, or until browned and tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven. Set aside in a warm place.

2 Prepare the remaining ingredients:

While the cauliflower roasts, peel the garlic; thinly slice 1 clove. Finely chop the remaining clove; using the flat side of your knife, smash until it resembles a paste (or use a zester). Peel and thinly slice the shallot. Wash and dry the lemon. Using a peeler, remove the yellow rind, avoiding the white pith; mince the rind to get 2 teaspoons of zest (or use a zester). Quarter and deseed the lemon.

Make the garlic breadcrumbs:
3 Make the garlic breadcrumbs:

While the cauliflower continues to roast, in a large pan, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the garlic paste; cook, stirring constantly, 30 to 45 seconds, or until fragrant. Add the breadcrumbs; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 2 to 3 minutes, or until browned. Transfer to a bowl. Wipe out the pan.

4 Cook the pasta:

While the cauliflower continues to roast, add the pasta to the pot of boiling water. Cook 6 to 8 minutes, or until al dente (still slightly firm to the bite). Reserving ½ cup of the pasta cooking water, drain thoroughly.

Cook the aromatics:
5 Cook the aromatics:

While the pasta cooks, in the same pan, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium until hot. Add the shallot, capers, sliced garlic, 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 occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, or until softened and fragrant. Turn off the heat.

6 Finish the pasta & plate your dish:

Add the butter, cooked pasta, roasted cauliflower, lemon zest, the juice of 2 lemon wedges, and half the reserved pasta cooking water to the pan. Cook on medium-high, stirring vigorously, 1 to 2 minutes, or until the pasta is coated. (If the sauce seems dry, gradually add the remaining pasta cooking water to achieve your desired consistency.) Turn off the heat; season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide between 2 dishes. Garnish with the garlic breadcrumbs and cheese. Serve with the remaining lemon wedges on the side, if you’d like. Enjoy!

Finish the pasta & plate your dish:
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