- 1 pound spaghetti, rotini, or pasta of choice
- 1 tablespoon and 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 1 head cauliflower
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes (optional)
- 1/3 cup dry white wine, chicken broth, or vegetable broth
- 6 sprigs Italian (flat-leaf) parsely
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
The cauliflower here is cooked until it is tender enough to start to fall apart a bit and combine with the liquid to make a sauce. The red pepper flakes are optional; they are ill-advised for those who dislike spice but essential for those who like it. No worries if you’re taking a pass—there’s plenty of flavor to be had in other corners of this recipe.
This dish works well with a bright, fresh salad or it can serve as a one-dish meal. The choice, as always, is yours.
Prep and cook time: 40 minutes
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon of the salt and the rotini or other pasta. Cook the pasta until just not quite tender to the bite—you’re going to cook it a bit more in the sauce, so you want it just a tad underdone. Scoop out about 1 cup of the pasta cooking liquid, drain the pasta, and set it aside.
While the water comes to a boil, trim the cauliflower. Separate into florets, cutting them into smaller pieces as needed, and cutting or slicing the core into bite-size pieces. Peel and thinly slice the garlic.
Heat a frying pan or saute pan or pot large enough to hold the cauliflower and the pasta over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the olive oil, swirl it around, and add the garlic and red chie flakes. Cook until the garlic is just barely starting to turn golden, about 1 minute. Add the wine or broth and the cauliflower. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, cover, reduce heat to medium-low and cook until the cauliflower is wonderfully tender, about 10 minutes.