Favorite cauliflower sauce for pasta

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mishmish

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I lived in Italy for 20+ years and pasta is a fall-back for when we're in a hurry for dinner. This is a variation on the olive oil/garlic/parmesan late night standby: Heat the oven to 450 F and put on a pot of salted water to boil. Cut up a head of cauliflower into itty bitty pieces - you want a lot of tiny flat thin pieces. Toss them with a little olive oil and minced garlic. Put them in thin layers on a couple of baking sheets (I use parchment paper on two sheets). Bake them until they start to brown, turning them with a spatula a couple of times (about 20 minutes). The quantity of cauliflower really diminishes and the flavor gets more concentrated. When they're about two thirds cooked, I add 1/4 cup of pinenuts (Costco sells big bags of them and I keep them in the freezer). While the cauliflower is roasting, I heat another couple of Tablespoons of olive oil in a pan big enough to hold everything, and saute more minched garlic - usually 4 or 5 cloves (don't brown the garlic or it gets bitter) - and a dried hot red pepper if you like, and then add a handful of breadcrumbs, let them cook a few seconds in the hot oil. Then add the cooked califlower, adjust the salt and pepper. Cook the spaghetti and drain it but retain some of the cooking water. Turn the heat back on under the cauliflower and add the pasta, enough of the cooking water to loosen it up as you turn it, and parmesan cheese to taste. It's really good. Sometimes I'll add a little butter to it at the end too.
 

KimW

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Thank you for sharing - sounds absolutely delicious! Always on the lookout for tried and true recipes.

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mishmish

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Italians are very picky about their pasta, ime. I like thin spaghetti for this, but you could do it with other types of pasta that have ripples or hollows to pick up the vegetables. It's not a "sauce" per se because it's not liquid, but the softness of the cauliflower and the binding power of the bread crumbs/olive oil/cheese makes it cling to the pasta. That's why you need a little of the cooking water at the end, too.
 

KimW

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I forgot to post - I tried this and it is absolutely DELICIOUS. The concentrated, but not overpowering, flavor of the roasted cauliflower was out of this world. I'm sorry I forgot to take a photo. I had a chopped up and frozen cauliflower, so I processed that minimally in a food processor. Didn't have pine nuts, so used walnuts. Followed rest of recipe exactly. My carnivore hubby was obviously wanting some meat, but I filled him up with sourdough garlic bread. hahaha
 
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Is the cauliflower “riced” into little pieces then? I have cauliflower in my fridge right now, and GF pasta in my pantry, so I might try this tonight.
 

KimW

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Is the cauliflower “riced” into little pieces then? I have cauliflower in my fridge right now, and GF pasta in my pantry, so I might try this tonight.
The original recipe calls for very thinly sliced small pieces of cauliflower but, yes, the way I did it the cauliflower looked more like pieces of rice. :)
 
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