- 2 pounds cauliflower florets, trimmed (about 2 medium head)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 12 ounces dried rigatoni (or other) chunky pasta
- 2 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
- 1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or to taste)
- 2/3 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
- Preheat oven to 500F.
- Slice cauliflower florets into halves vertically (quarters if large), toss with 2 tablespoons oil, and place cut-side down on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Roast 10 minutes, turn cauliflower and roast 5 minutes more, or until tender and browned.
- Cook pasta according to package directions, reserving 1/2 cup cooking water. While pasta is cooking, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet. Add panko, and cook 3 minutes or until browned. Set aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon each oil and butter in skillet. Add sliced garlic, and sauté until golden. Add red pepper and anchovy paste, stirring well; add cauliflower and toss well.
- Return drained pasta to pot with 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Add cauliflower mixture and Romano, cover and cook 3 minutes. Stir in mint and black pepper. Spoon into serving bowls and sprinkle with the toasted breadcrumbs.
Bright Italian reds go beautifully with Pecorino Romano, so reach for Caldora Montepulciano d’Abruzzo ($11),
a bottle with a great balance of fruit, spice, and a little zip on the finish.—Wini Moranville, Relish wine columnist
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