This pasta with cauliflower and breadcrumbs is a great dish to add to your weeknight dinner rotation. It’s so easy and has great flavor from the toasted breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, and anchovy filets. You can use any pasta, but I love orecchiette because its cupped shape helps catch the cauliflower and breadcrumbs when everything is tossed together.
Orecchiette with Cauliflower and Bread Crumbs
- 1 head cauliflower chopped into ½-inch pieces
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt divided
- 1 pound orecchiette pasta
- 1/3 cup fresh bread crumbs
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese divided
- 4 cloves garlic chopped
- 5 anchovy filets packed in oil chopped
- ½ teaspoon chili flakes
- 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss together the cauliflower, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and ½ teaspoon salt. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, turning the cauliflower midway through, until golden brown and cooked thoroughly. Set aside.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until al dente. Drain well, reserving 1½ cups of pasta water.
- Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the bread crumbs and toast until fragrant and golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove to a small bowl and mix with 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese.
- In that same large sauté pan, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and anchovies and stir with a wooden spoon, breaking up the anchovies to help them dissolve in the oil. This will take about 2 minutes. Add the chili flakes and the cauliflower and toss gently to coat.
- Add to the pan the cooked pasta, half of the reserved pasta water, remaining ½ cup cheese, and the parsley. Toss to coat, and simmer for another 2 minutes, adding additional pasta water as needed to moisten. Sprinkle with the bread crumb mixture and drizzle with more olive oil if desired.