Sunday, February 12, 2012

Penne with Roasted Garlic, Cauliflower and Parmesan

The other night dinner started out as a single head of garlic roasting in the oven. I was reading to my kids and imagining its beautiful golden color as its delicious smell filled our house.

Sometimes I fall silent when I am reading and thinking about cooking. My kids usually poke me until I start up again but this time I was trying to figure out where it was going to take the meal. Roasted garlic can be a versatile tool for your meal. Add it to the top of a pizza or mix it in a tomato sauce or put it on crostini. I started wondering what would it taste like in pesto?

I ended up adding it to a butter and olive oil sauce with pasta. I had parsley, cauliflower and parmesan so the meal was formed. I wasn't sure if one head of garlic would be enough but it was, though if you love garlic or your heads are small, you might put in two.

The cauliflower is parboiled so that it is just cooked through but still firm. This adds a nice texture balance to the pasta.

The quantity of parmesan is very flexible, I just grated a pile that was close to a 1/2 a cup. If you want a bit of spice, the red pepper flakes can provide that for you.

Penne with Roasted Garlic, Cauliflower and Parmesan
Serves 4 - 6

1 lb penne
1 large head of garlic
1 small head of cauliflower
1.5 T olive oil plus 1 tsp
1.5 T butter
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
small handful of parsley, washed and chopped
salt and pepper
2 tsp dried red pepper flakes (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cut the top off the garlic. Drizzle with 1 tsp olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for about 50 minutes.

Put a large pot of lightly salted water over high heat for the pasta.

Cut the cauliflower up into small florets, bite-sized. Put in a small stock pan, cover with cold water and sprinkle in a little salt. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil for about a minute, until cooked through but still firm. Drain and place in a large bowl.

Cook the pasta.

While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter and mix with the remaining olive oil in a small bowl. Squeeze the roasted garlic out of its skins into the bowl and mash with the back of a fork, mixing with the butter and olive oil.

Add the pasta to the large bowl along with the garlic mixture, parsley, parmesan and (optional) red pepper flakes. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix well.

Serving Suggestion: Belgian Endive, Raddichio and Grape Salad and Sole Meuniere


  1. Next time try roasting the cauliflower as well. Roasted cauliflower is so good.

  2. I will try that, I love roasted cauliflower too!