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.
Baked Cauliflower and Pasta
Creamy baked cauliflower with pasta has surprise pockets of cheese with a crunchy topping that is comfort food at it’s best. A bit of lemon and capers add just the right touch.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 6-8 1x
- 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 Pecorino/Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 400º.
2. Add water to a large pot and add 2 tablespoons salt. Bring to a boil and add pasta. Cook until al dente. Drain and put pasta in a large bowl.
3. In a 12 inch skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil 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 bowl with the pasta.
4. Add Sage, capers, garlic, lemon Zest, red pepper flakes, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper to the bowl. Stir to combine. Add 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.
5. In a small bowl, combine panko pecorino, parsley and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle over pasta mixture.
6. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.