home cooked dinners by the season

Sicilian Style Roasted Cauliflower Pasta

Sicilian Style Roasted Cauliflower Pasta

Roasted cauliflower has long been one of my favorite winter vegetables. Tossed with a generous drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, roasting brings out the flavor of this somewhat bland vegetable with the caramelization that occurs when it turns a toasty light brown. Adding a little spice like curry powder elevates the flavor even more and I profess to making and eating it this way on a regular basis.

Another favorite way with cauliflower is roasting it then combining it with other ingredients as it works to elevate the flavors of what you combine it with. It also increases the nutritional value. I am all about getting as many servings of vegetables in a day as possible.

In this Sicilian style pasta, the currants, nuts and optional citrus zest, add a balance of sweet and savory to the cauliflower. The spaghetti noodle strands catch a little of each ingredient with every bite.

Easy! With the exception of the currants (raisins can be subbed) I am guessing you have many of these ingredients in your pantry. Once the cauliflower and almonds are roasted this meal goes together quickly making it a candidate for an easy one-dish weekday dinner.

Currants! Are you familiar with them? It’s fair to say you might not have them in your pantry but I will make the case you should. From the grape family – these tiny dried grapes add a tangy sweet intense flavor in every bite. You can substitute golden or regular raisins and chop them into smaller pieces.

Yes! Precut cauliflower florets available in plastic bags is fair game! Especially if wrestling with a head of whole cauliflower is either intimidating, too time consuming or both.

Happy 2023!

Sicilian Style Roasted Cauliflower Pasta
 
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 medium to large head cauliflower (or 6 cups florets)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup sliced or chopped raw almonds
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup chopped green onions (white and green parts)
  • 1 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
  • 8 ounces spaghetti, broken into thirds
  • ½ cup chopped Italian parsley
  • ⅓ cup currants (golden or regular raisins can be substituted)
  • ½ cup reserved drained hot pasta water
  • ⅓ to ½ cup grated Parmesan or crumbled goat cheese
  • Optional extras:
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Cut the cauliflower into quarters, remove the stem and then cut into bite-sized florets. Transfer to a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat evenly; arrange in a single layer on the baking sheet leaving ¼ of the pan open (to add almonds later) and season with salt and pepper. Roast until golden brown about 25 minutes, remove pan from oven and gently shake to turn cauliflower; add almonds on the open end of the pan; return to oven and roast just until almonds are lightly browned about 3-5 minutes (watch closely as they brown quickly).
  2. In a medium to large saute pan over low heat, cook green onions and garlic to soften and release flavors (do not brown), about 2 to 3 minutes then remove from heat.
  3. In a large pot of salted water, cook spaghetti according to package directions; remove ½ cup cooking water then drain pasta. Add pasta to the pan with the onions and garlic.
  4. Add ½ cup reserved cooking water, roasted cauliflower and almonds to the cooked pasta and toss well. Add parsley, currants and parmesan or goat cheese and toss again. Season with salt and pepper. Optionally add red pepper flakes and lemon zest and toss well.

 


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