Roasted cauliflower with garlicky breadcrumbs. Parsley, thyme, rosemary. Italian cheese. Can you almost taste how delicious these flavors will be in your mouth?
After a week in Costa Rica devouring daily doses of huevos rancheros, guacamole and margaritas, I was really craving a home cooked meal…especially pasta. Don’t get me wrong, the food was outstanding. Freshly caught seafood, tropical fruits and the freshest corn tortillas you can imagine were all delicious, but I seem to have a limit as to how much latin cuisine my digestive tract can handle.
It was really nice having the week off despite the fact that I was sick with a terrible cold and cough through half of it. But better to be sick on the beach in Costa Rica where it was 85 degrees, than in New Jersey where I heard it got pretty cold. There was no worrying about blog posts to finish, homework to review, after-school activities to rush to, meals to create, dishes to clean, dogs to walk, ballet buns to secure or anything of the like. It was nice to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of daily life, and just be together as a family. It’s funny, but I’ve noticed it takes us a few days to settle down and ease into the slower pace. The limited Wi-fi connection and inability to check email or connect immediately with someone by text, can be maddening at first. Then it hits you. The addiction to social media, fast-paced environment and need for instant gratification you’ve denied having…is real. Damn! But, by the end of the week I noticed our conversations got longer, we were taking more notice of the breathtaking environment around us and we started to truly relax. For that I’m so grateful. We surfed, kayaked, swam, explored and ATE…a lot! It was heaven! Moving forward, I will try desperately to remember how important it is, not only for me but for my children, to take time to slow down and disconnect from all the nonsense.
So, before I get to this week’s featured recipe, here are a few scenes from our trip to Costa Rica. In the picture below, the last mountain range you see in the distance is actually the border of Nicaragua! We were fortunate enough to enjoy the company of Howler monkeys which roam wild throughout the lush vegetation. And might I add, although quite small they are perfectly named, since they make the most eerie howling sound you’ve ever heard (like something from a Star Wars movie)!
Now on to the some mouth watering pasta, shall we?! This cauliflower I got at the market the other day was so white and fresh I knew immediatley I wanted to make this pasta dish. If you do some prep work with the cauliflower in advance, it even makes a great weeknight meal that can be on your table in about 30 minutes! Chop the cauliflower (with some of the green stems and leaves included,) wash, pat dry and leave in a ziplock bag in the fridge until ready to use. I use whole wheat fusilli for this recipe. The earthy texture of the pasta works perfectly with the rich caramelized flavor of the cauliflower. You could also add in white beans for a more hearty meal.
A delicious sauce is created with the pasta water, cheese, olive oil and herbs. Roasting the cauliflower with herbs, breadcrumbs and garlic makes all the difference in this recipe, because it creates that unique taste that only roasting can achieve. The herbed roasted cauliflower (minus the pasta) is also a great side dish for your Thanksgiving dinner! Pair the pasta with a light red wine such as a pinot noir.
- 1 lb whole wheat fusilli
- 1 medium to large head cauliflower (chopped) (any moisture from washing patted dry)
- 2-3 gloves garlic (peeled and chopped)
- 2 tbsp dried thyme
- 2 tbsp dried rosemary
- ¼ cup breadcrumbs
- ½ cup fresh parsley (chopped)
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil + more for drizzling
- ⅓ cup pecorino romano cheese + more for topping
- 1 cup reserved pasta water **
- kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 450 F
- Bring salted water for pasta to a boil.
- Cook pasta (before draining remember to reserve 1 cup of the pasta water).
- In meantime, arrange cauliflower on baking sheet and sprinkle dried herbs, dash of salt, pepper, drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat.
- Bake cauliflower for 10 min then remove from oven to carefully toss in garlic and breadcrumbs. Bake another 10 min until golden brown.
- Once pasta is cooked, drain and transfer to a large bowl and add only ¼ of the reserved pasta water, the cheese, olive oil and toss to combine. **If pasta seems dry then add more pasta water (1/4 cup at a time).
- Top pasta with roasted cauliflower mixture, fresh parsley, additional cheese and drizzle with olive oil.
- Toss to combine and serve.