so-good cauliflower casserole

Cauliflower Casserole
Cauliflower is one of those veggies that I enjoy, but I can’t seem to find any good recipes for it. That changed when I bought a copy of Salt to Taste by Marco Canora. I know, I know, I never buy cookbooks, but this one really spoke to me. This casserole was right up my alley.
Cauliflower Casserole
So how good was it? It was so good, I totally forgot to take a photo. So as you can see now, these shots were taken after I’d already eaten about half of it, the next day. Oops.

Rigatoni with Cauliflower, Pecorino, Hot Pepper, and Bread Crumbs
From Salt to Taste by Marco Canora

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup minced onion
1/4 cup minced carrot
1/4 cup minced celery
3 minced garlic cloves
1 large head of cauliflower, broken up into small florets
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Large pinch of minced peperoncini or red pepper flakes
28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, can juices discarded
1 pound rigatoni
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup grated pecorino
1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter

First you cook the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic in the oil over medium-high heat, stirring, for 10 minutes. Then mix in the cauliflower and season with salt, pepper and peperoncini (I used red pepper flakes) and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes to soften. Break up the tomatoes into the pot, mix well, and simmer until the cauliflower is tender and breaking apart, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Then cook the pasta in a pot of salted water until almost al dente, drain, and toss it into the cauliflower mixture so it can finish cooking, but reserve some of the pasta cooking water because you might need to add 1/2 cup to the sauce to loosen it up. Add the parsley and half the pecorino and stir.

Preheat the broiler. Combine the bread crumbs, melted butter, and remaining pecorino in a small bowl. Transfer the pasta mixture to a baking dish and top with the bread crumb mixture. Put under the broiler for 3 minutes to brown it up and then let it rest for 5 minutes before serving.

27 thoughts on “so-good cauliflower casserole

  1. The casserole HAS to be good, since you dived right into it and forgot the photos! ๐Ÿ™‚ I know that's how I judge how good a dish is! hehe, probably why all the food that make it onto my facebook is half bitten.

  2. Ooh.. this sounds wonderful. I've made a pasta with cauliflower and peppers before, but this sounds so much better with the addition of red sauce. I almost bought that cookbook the other day… now I wish I hadn't put it back on the shelf!

  3. vickys: that's pretty funnymegan: i've definitely tasted some good regular (not baked) pasta dishes with cauliflower before, but i wish i had more recipes like that. it's a great book — you might want to buy it next timelpr: yeah, it's a good one

  4. Oh, I LOVE cauliflower too! And you're right — there aren't many good recipes. I often make an Indian cauliflower curry (blogged about it recently) and a gratin from Ina Garten. This recipe looks so good too! I love pasta dishes with tomato and veggies. Yum!!

  5. I absolutely love cauliflower! I have a few recipes I've tried it in but I think best is just roasting it w/ a little bit of panko and cheese! Yum! hehe and You can always tell a good meal when you forget the pics! I've done that a few times myself!

  6. ann: definitely worth a trymsmeanie: i'm hoping someone proves me wrong about there not being too many great recipes for itchristina: that should be my new standard — it's only really good if i forget to take photos

  7. This one is definitely a keeper. I plan to make it this weekend to challenge my husband since he is anti-cauliflower. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you very much for sharing it with us.

  8. Something traumatic must have happened to me as a kid because up till a few years ago, I wouldn't touch cauliflower. But I'm back on cauliflower now and my favorite way to have it is in a casserole (with lots of garlic and cream). Your rigatoni looks awesome, even on the next day!

  9. i just recently started insisting on making broccoli a part of our meals once a week…n' it is getting accepted…:)do you think i could substitute the cauliflower used here with broccoli? or will that be a crime?..justin…i just love how your snaps turn out looking so casual n' chic at the same time…whereas mine looks like they are trying too hard…if you know what i mean…:)

  10. ana: thankschinese kite: really? i hope it goes well. now i want to make this again too.phyllis: ha, i totally get that. i'm that way about a lot of foods.ju: i'll keep in mind that it's not so bad to photograph half-eaten foodmiri: i actually love broccoli, but i have to say no, it wouldn't work well in this dish. it gets pretty soft, and even though you can cook broccoli till it's soft, it would be very different in this dish. the colors might be a little strange too. and thanks about the photos.

  11. Nice! Anything you don't even take pictures of because you dove right in is a keeper ๐Ÿ˜€ Cauliflower is a great veggie, love your use of it in this casserole!

  12. I love cauliflower but I've never tried cooking it with pasta..I have got to try this, my family love pasta they will love this for sure ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. i love this cauliflower casserole with all the brown bits on top. every other week i buy a head of cauliflower and make the same few preparations with it, this is a wonderful new way for me to use this delicious veggie. thanks for sharing!

  14. pj: every week? hmm, i definitely wouldn't know what to do with cauliflower that oftenpandalicous: thanks. i like it too, but like i just said, i don't really know how to cook it in many ways

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