This recipe transforms a simple head of cauliflower into a savory, garlicky, totally satisfying meatless pasta dish. Serves 4.
Medium head of cauliflower
1/4 cup olive oil (divided)
1/4 C dried bread crumbs
1 tsp kosher salt
1/8 to 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 pound angel hair (or thin spaghetti)
5 garlic cloves, sliced
1-2 TBS pesto, optional
shredded fresh basil, optional
1. Preheat oven to 425.
2. Break the cauliflower into flowerets. Place them in a bowl with about 1/8 cup of olive oil. Add the bread crumbs, salt, and red pepper flakes. Toss to coat the cauliflower.
3. Spread the flowerets in a single layer on a parchment lined sheet pan. Bake for about 25-30 minutes until lightly caramelized. Remove from oven when they are done and set aside.
4. Bring a pot of well-salted water to a boil. Break the long strands of spaghetti in halves. Cook the pasta to the al dente stage. Remove 1 cup of the salted pasta water before you drain the pasta.
5. When the pasta is done, drain it and return it to the pot to keep warm. If you like, you could add a tablespoon or two of pesto to the spaghetti to amp up the basil flavor.
6. Pour the remaining olive oil into a saute pan set on medium heat. Add the sliced garlic. Cook for a couple of minutes until the edges are sizzling.
7. Add the cup of reserved pasta water and bring to a vigorous boil until the water is reduced by half. Reduce heat and keep at a simmer.
8. Add the cooked pasta to the simmering garlic infused water/sauce. Slide the roasted cauliflower onto the pasta. Toss.
9.Sprinkle with fresh basil, if using, and serve with grated Parmesan.