If you’ve not yet hopped on the roasted cauliflower bandwagon, please do soon for you will not be disappointed. Charring and caramelising the edges brings out a nutty, buttery flavour and when lightly oiled, salted and roasted for 20-30 minutes in a high temp oven it is tempting to pop it in like popcorn. I can safely say I will most likely never boil it again.
I feel like a vegetable pimp, pairing it up with garlic, fennel seeds, curry powder, chilli flakes, it has loved them all. This particular recipe is one of those that can be adjusted and giggled up pretty easy to suit any pantry’s offerings. I always have jars of olives and sundried tomatoes lingering about so when making this I tend to play around with spices and sometimes add frozen peas of whatever vegetables look on their last legs.
It’s a real delight to whip up and such little effort is involved, making it great for weeknights or lazy nights. Ben always likes a bit of meat involved and bacon or pancetta works nicely here, try roasting cauliflower next time you make cauliflower cheese and scatter over pancetta for a meal in itself. I like a small pasta shape with this recipe which also is great as a pasta salad or eaten the day after.
Method Serves 2
- 5 tbsp rapeseed oil or olive oil
- 1 head cauliflower broken into small florets
- 2 tsp fennel seeds
- 2 tsp chilli flakes
- 1 handful of green olives
- 4-7 sundried tomatoes in oil, chopped in thin slithers
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- Dried pasta (about 100-120g per person)
- 1 cup grated aged Parmigiano-Reggiano
- Zest of 1 lemon and squeeze of juice (almost 1 tbsp)
- Pancetta/bacon, if using
Preheat oven to 200℃.
Break cauliflower into small florets, place in the oven tray and scatter over fennel seeds, chilli flakes and 2 tbsp oil. season liberally and mix it around to coat the florets evenly. Place in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook pasta to al dente. drain and reserve half a cup of starchy pasta water incase mixture seems dry.
Mince garlic and add to a heated saute pan with 1 tbsp oil, saute over medium heat until lightly golden (will take a few minutes, careful not to burn). Now add olives, tomatoes and drained pasta – mix carefully.
Add the roasted cauliflower to the pasta mix and stir to coat the pasta with the fennel scented oils from the baking tray. Mix in the parmesan, lemon zest and squeeze of juice. Add a little reserved pasta water if it seems a little dry and scatter with more parmesan if you wish.