I really enjoy cauliflower all by itself steamed or raw but especially when roasted with capers or browned butter. For this recipe you’ll sauté it. This is one of Ina Garten’s recipes that has been around for a long time. It has several unusual ingredients that when combined make this one of our favorites side dish recipes.
The sage and lemon are a bit unusual for a baked pasta dish but I think that’s why we like it so much. It freshens it up so that it doesn’t feel as heavy as a more traditional macaroni and cheese.
What ingredients will you need for this pasta recipe
- Orecchiette pasta or shells to absorb all the yummy cheese
- Fresh cauliflower
- Fresh sage
- Lemon zest
- Fontina cheese
- Ricotta cheese
- Parmesan cheese
How do you make baked cauliflower pasta
While this has several ingredients, it doesn’t take long to put this all together, about 20 minutes or so.
Step 1: Boil the pasta, drain and return to the pot.
Step 2: While the pasta is boiling, sauté the cauliflower and then add to the cooked pasta.
Step 3: Add sage, capers, garlic, lemons zest and red pepper flakes to the pasta mixture and combine. Then add the grated fontina and mix together.
Step 4: Pour half of the pasta into your baking dish and top with dollops of ricotta. Pour the remaining pasta over the top.
Step 5: In a small bowl combine the panko, parmesan, oil and parsley and sprinkle over the pasta. Bake until golden brown
You’re going to love the pockets of cheese that are so unexpected. These are formed by dolloping ricotta between your layers of cauliflower and pasta. If you don’t love cauliflower this might be just the thing for you because the other flavors almost mask the cauliflower. A sneaky way to get in some extra vegetables.
What can you serve with cheesy baked pasta
More pasta dishes you’ll love
- Mac & cheese
- Pasta with Italian sausage
- Shrimp and corn carbonara
- Pasta alla vodka
- Southwest spaghetti
- Pasta with artichokes
Baked Cauliflower and Pasta
- ¾ lb Orecchiette pasta/shells
- olive oil
- 1 head cauliflower cut into small florets
- 3 tablespoons fresh sage chopped
- 2 tablespoons capers drained
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 cups fontina cheese 10 ounces
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- 6 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
- Preheat oven to 400º.
- Bring salted water to a boil and add pasta. Cook until al dente. Drain and return pasta to the pot.
- While pasta is cooking, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute a layer of cauliflower tossing occasionally until lightly brown, about 5 minutes. Remove and add additional oil and remaining cauliflower. Add cooked cauliflower to the pasta.
- Add Sage, capers, garlic, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper to the bowl. Stir to combine. Add grated fontina and transfer half of the mixture to a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Spoon ricotta onto the mixture by tablespoons and then spoon the remaining pasta over the ricotta.
- In a small bowl, combine panko, parmesan, parsley and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle over pasta mixture.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.