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Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower and Prosciutto

Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower and Prosciutto

Orecchiette pasta tossed with roasted cauliflower, roasted cherry tomatoes, prosciutto, arugula, and Parmesan.

Photography Credit:Elise Bauer

We are big fans of cauliflower, especially roasted cauliflower.

Now if you start with nutty roasted cauliflower, and add some Parmesan, some chopped prosciutto, a few roasted tomatoes, some garlic, and stir in some tender greens like baby arugula or spinach, and some pasta, you are firing on all taste cylinders.

Tomatoes for the sweet and acid, greens for the bitter, and Parmesan and prosciutto for the salt and umami make this pasta dish almost impossible to put down once you start.

My father found this recipe in a recent issue of Fine Cooking, one of our favorite magazines. We adapted it a little, found that we wanted more cauliflower and less pasta than the original recipe called for, and made a few other minor changes.

Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower and Prosciutto Recipe

If cherry tomatoes aren't available, you can skip them and add a few chopped sun dried tomatoes to the dish at the end.


  • 1/2 medium cauliflower, cored and broken up into 3/4-inch florets (4+ cups) (see How to Cut and Core Cauliflower)
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried sage
  • 4 large cloves garlic
  • 4 ounces of prosciutto
  • 8 ounces orecchiette pasta
  • 5 ounces baby arugula or spinach, cleaned and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese


1 Roast cauliflower and tomatoes: Preheat oven to 425°F. Lay out cauliflower and tomatoes in a roasting pan, coat with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until just lightly browned and cooked through, about 15 minutes.

2 Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (1 teaspoon salt for every quart of water).

3 Add prosciutto mixture to cauliflower, return to oven: While water is heating, pulse garlic, sage, and prosciutto together in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Once cauliflower has browned lightly, remove from oven, toss cauliflower with garlic prosciutto mixture, and return to oven to cook for 5-7 minutes more.

4 Boil pasta uncovered (rolling boil) for 9-10 minutes until firm, but done (al dente). Reserve one cup of pasta liquid. Drain water from pot.

5 Add cauliflower, tomatoes, arugula (or spinach), and Parmesan to the pasta. Stir in enough cooking water to moisten. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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Pasta with cauliflower is a wintertime classic for Italians. Keep reading for the traditional cauliflower pasta recipe, and check out the photo tutorial above for some tips on making the dish even tastier.

Baked Pasta with Prosciutto di Parma, Roasted Cauliflower and Toasted Breadcrumbs

When your taste buds call for a dish that is fun, versatile and robust with a punch of heat, this one will skip to the front of the other pasta with prosciutto recipes. Fresh garlic, roasted cauliflower and zesty red pepper flakes turn a traditional baked ziti completely upside down. This savory and festive pasta with prosciutto recipe makes a compelling side dish that serves well cold or warm. To enhance its earthy essence, pair it with food-friendly wines that have low tannins and high acidity, such as a dry Italian Rosato or Barbera. Take a look below for a how-to video, from our Specialist retailer, Mariano’s Market.

  • 8 slices Prosciutto di Parma, divided
  • 2 slices country-style bread, crusts removed, torn into pieces
  • 1/3 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 large head cauliflower, trimmed and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons salt, divided
  • 8 ounces dry ziti
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes, or to taste

With a sharp knife, chop 4 slices of the Prosciutto di Parma (including all of the fat) into small pieces cut remaining prosciutto into 1-inch strips set both aside.

In a food processor, pulse the bread to form crumbs. In an ovenproof pan, mix the breadcrumbs with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil toast in the oven until golden and crisp, stirring once or twice, about 5 minutes.

On a large baking sheet, mix cauliflower with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Roast until browned, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, fill a large pot with 4 quarts of water and add remaining salt bring to a boil. Add ziti and cook until al dente, 10 to 12 minutes when done, drain well, reserving 1 cup pasta water.

While pasta cooks, in a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil add the chopped prosciutto and cook until crisp, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in pasta, roasted cauliflower and wine. Stir well, adding small amounts of pasta water as needed for a saucy consistency. Stir in parsley and hot pepper flakes.

To serve, spoon pasta into shallow bowls. Top with prosciutto strips and bread crumbs.

Roasted Cauliflower and Parmesan Pasta

Heat the oven (with oven rack in the middle) to 425°F. Fill a large pot with water 2 inches from the top and let come to a boil.

Rinse the cauliflower the cut it into bite-size florets discard the core. Transfer to a rimmed sheet pan.

Smash the garlic and add to the pan. Drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with the salt and pepper (about 12 turns on pepper mill). Toss together with your hands and spread into a single layer.

Roast for 15 minutes, pull the pan out of the oven and turn the cauliflower with a spatula. Return to the oven to finish roasting until golden brown and tender, 10 to 15 minutes more.

Is the water boiling yet? Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions.

Meanwhile, chop the parsley and grate the cheese.

Once the pasta is al dente, use a liquid measuring cup to scoop out 3/4 cup of the pasta water from the pot and set aside. Then, drain the pasta and the rest of the water into the colander. Return the pasta to the pot along reserved pasta water. Turn the heat on to low. Sprinkle in the Parmesan and stir until it melts and coats the pasta. Remove from the heat and stir in the roasted cauliflower, chopped parsley, and red pepper. Taste to see if it needs more salt before serving.

  • 1 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth (or homemade)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 4 ounces pancetta, cut into small cubes
  • 3 medium leeks, halved lengthwise and sliced, white and light green parts only (about 2 cups)
  • ½ medium head cauliflower, stalks removed, florets and tender leaves cut into ½ inch pieces (about 3 cups)
  • Kosher salt
  • Peperoncino
  • 1 pound orecchiette
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • ¼ cup fine dry breadcrumbs, or as needed

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. Heat the chicken broth in a small saucepan just to simmer and keep warm.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pancetta has rendered some of its fat and is lightly browned but still soft in the center, about 4 minutes. Add the leeks and cook until just wilted, about 3 minutes. Stir in the cauliflower and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower is wilted and begins to brown, about 4 minutes. Season lightly with salt and a generous pinch of peperoncino.

Pour the chicken stock into the skillet, bring to a boil and lower the heat so the sauce is at a lively simmer. Cook until the vegetables are tender and the liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the orecchiette to the boiling water and cook until al dente. When the pasta is done, remove with a spider directly to the sauce. Add the parsley and breadcrumbs, and toss to coat the pasta with the sauce. Let simmer a minute, until the breadcrumbs thicken the sauce. Adjust the consistency of the sauce by adding more breadcrumbs if it is still too soupy, or a little pasta water if it is too tight. Remove the skillet from the heat, drizzle with a little more olive oil, toss and serve.

Variations to making Keto Baked Feta w/ Roasted Cauliflower

Since I was already changing lots of things about this recipe I figured why not add some meat to the recipe. I decided that some sliced prosciutto would be a prefect compliment to the tangy feta and acidic tomatoes. You can add bacon or pepperoni if you dint have prosciutto. I think adding some salty cured pork to just about anything is a good idea

Can You use Frozen Cauliflower Florets instead of Fresh Cauliflower?

Sure, Though I prefer using fresh cauliflower you can substitute frozen if that's what's available. Because the cauliflower is frozen and has a lot of water just roast it separately on a sheet pan and drain it off before adding it to the feta and tomatoes.

Orecchiette with Roasted Cauliflower, Prosciutto and Peas

This recipe might best be called the “Calm before the Storm.” Thanksgiving is looming with its promise of feasts, indulgences and lots of leftovers. In anticipation of the predictable holiday chaos and our subsequent food coma, I aim for a moment of zen and economy, creating simple and efficient meals, deliciously comforting while using lurkers in the refrigerator as inspiration and freeing up space for turkey-centric leftovers. In this case, I unearthed a head of cauliflower from the vegetable bin, patiently waiting (as crucifers are so inclined) to be put to use from last week’s farmers market splurge. A chunk of pancetta gamely joined in, skirting its banishment to the freezer, along with a bag of well frozen peas eager for a defrost. Suddenly, I had an easy and healthy dinner on hand with no whiff of leftovers, stuffing or cranberry sauce – that will come later.

Orecchiette with Roasted Cauliflower, Prosciutto and Peas
Serves 4.

1 medium head cauliflower, cut in 1 inch pieces
Olive oil
3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto or pancetta
1 pound orecchiette pasta
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, plus extra for serving
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat oven to 375 F. Toss cauliflower with 1 tablespoon olive oil in a bowl. Sprinkle with salt. Arrange in one layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake on lowest rack in oven until tender and bottoms are golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Transfer to top rack and broil 2-3 minutes until tops are tinged brown. Remove from oven.
While the cauliflower is roasting, arrange prosciutto in one layer on another baking sheet. Bake in same oven on middle rack until dry, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven. When cool enough to handle, break into shards.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Drain. Transfer to a large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, peas and 1 teaspoon salt toss to warm the peas. Add cauliflower, prosciutto and 1/2 cup Parmigiano cheese, gently tossing to combine. Taste for seasoning. Serve immediately with freshly ground black pepper and additional cheese on the side.

Roasted Cauliflower and Tomato Pasta with Crispy Prosciutto and Arugula

This recipe was inspired by the contents of my refrigerator. It was a weeknight, I hadn’t shopped, and I wanted to make an easy and satisfying one-dish dinner. Pasta is always useful in this situation. With a little digging in the refrigerator I unearthed a cauliflower, prosciutto and arugula, while the cheese drawer disclosed a couple hunks of Parmgiano-Reggiano and Pecorino Romano cheese.

Further inspired by a Cooking Light recipe as well as a similar recipe from Simply Recipes, I decided to roast the cauliflower and tomatoes and toss them with the pasta. The roasting process softens and chars the cauliflower, adding a nice depth to the dish, while shriveling and intensifying the flavor of the tomatoes. From there I digressed, improvising with my other ingredients. I baked the prosciutto in the oven until it crisped, and snapped the pieces into salty shards. Then I combined the cooked pasta with the cauliflower, tomatoes and prosciutto before tossing in the arugula and tumbling everything together so that the heat from the pasta would slightly wilt the peppery arugula leaves. Finally I scattered the dish wth a mix of Parmigiano-Reggiano and Pecorino cheese. The result was a healthy, satisfying weeknight meal which could be served warm or at room temperature. Digging in the refrigerator is fun, and I highly recommend it.

Roasted Cauliflower and Tomato Pasta with Crispy Prosciutto and Arugula
Serves 4

1 medium head of cauliflower, broken into 1″ florets
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
Extra virgin olive oil
3 ounces sliced prosciutto
1 pound penne pasta
1 large garlic clove
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups arugula, washed and dried
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 cup Pecorino Romana cheese

Preheat oven to 400 F. (200 C.)
Arrange cauliflower and tomatoes in one layer on a baking sheet. Toss with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt. Roast in oven until cauliflower is tender and browned on the edges, about 20 minutes.
While the cauliflower is roasting, arrange prosciutto slices in one layer on another baking sheet. Place in same oven and bake for 20 minutes as well.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente. Drain. Combine pasta, cauliflower, tomatoes, garlic and black pepper in a large bowl. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Break prosciutto into shards. Scatter prosciutto and arugula over pasta and toss to combine. Combine the 2 cheeses in a small bowl. Sprinkle 1/2 cup cheese over pasta and toss. Taste to see if more cheese is needed. Serve pasta with remaining cheese on the side.

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Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower and Breadcrumbs

at Simply Recipes, I bookmarked it. A head of cauliflower had been languishing in my crisper drawer for at least a week, and roasting it side-by-side with cherry tomatoes, then tossing it with prosciutto and pasta, sounded heavenly. It's not the recipe for the dish photographed here, though. I just couldn't get over the price of cherry tomatoes and prosciutto I must've picked up, then put down, that plastic clamshell of tomatoes 3 or 4 times. In the end I passed without a plan for my pasta and cauliflower&mdashpenny-wise but pound-foolish, perhaps? I ended up with a poor-woman's version of the dish (if that poor woman happens to have a bit of Parmesan in the fridge already). The bright, tart flavor of the tomatoes was sorely missed, however. Sometimes you make do with what you have in those cases, toasted breadcrumbs are a suitable substitute, adding a crisp contrast to the other textures in the bowl.

I began with the cauliflower, breaking it up into florets and tossing it with salt, pepper and olive oil. I roasted that on a rimmed baking sheet in a 425-degree oven for 20 minutes. While that was roasting, I cooked short corkscrew pasta in salted water and made the breadcrumbs. I warmed some olive oil in a small skillet and added minced garlic when I could smell the garlic, I quickly added some breadcrumbs. I used panko, but if you wanted to stick to the budget mindset you should use whatever you have. Stir the crumbs until brown, then pull the skillet off the heat to cool. When the pasta and cauliflower are done, toss them with toasted breadcrumbs, shredded Parmesan and some olive oil.

Tomatoes may be pricey in my grocery, but I have seen asparagus and broccoli on sale in recent weeks:

Do you make substitutions in your recipes when an ingredient seems too expensive? &mdash Kim Walker

Caramelized Mushroom Pasta with Crispy Prosciutto

If you already love mushrooms, well, us too. But if you&rsquore still not sold on eating these fungi, it could be because you haven&rsquot tasted them when prepared for maximum deliciousness. Caramelized mushrooms are savory, chewy and a far cry from the wet and spongy ones found on takeout pizza. Try them for yourself in this caramelized mushroom pasta with crispy prosciutto from Sheela Prakash&rsquos cookbook, Mediterranean Every Day.

&ldquoMushrooms are one of my favorite ingredients to toss into a pasta dish because of how much meatiness they add,&rdquo she writes. &ldquoAlthough sautéing them is well and good, here I up both their flavor and texture by caramelizing them.&rdquo

That sounds like a fancy technique, but as Prakash explains, it&rsquos quite simple: &ldquoTo caramelize the mushrooms, sear them in batches to give them the space needed to develop a deep, golden brown crust, which really helps draw out their umami-rich flavor,&rdquo she continues. &ldquoAdd plenty of garlic and thyme to the mix, along with crispy shards of prosciutto for good measure and the result is a savory, earthy pasta that&rsquos easy to love.&rdquo

Reprinted with permission from Mediterranean Every Day: Simple, Inspired Recipes for Feel-Good Food, Copyright © 2020 by Sheela Prakash. Published by The Harvard Common Press, an Imprint of The Quarto Group.

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons (30mL) extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 pound (454g) cremini mushrooms, quartered

12 ounces (340g) campanelle, or other short pasta

1 tablespoon (3g) fresh thyme leaves

Freshly shaved Parmesan cheese, for serving

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.

2. Heat a large, high-sided skillet over medium heat. Add 2 prosciutto slices to the pan in a single layer, and cook until they curl and are lightly browned underneath, about 3 minutes. Flip the prosciutto and let cook until browned on the other side, about 3 minutes more. Transfer the prosciutto to a paper towel&ndashlined plate and repeat with the remaining 2 slices.

3. Pour 1 tablespoon (15mL) of olive oil into the pan. Add half the mushrooms in a single layer (try to get as many cut-side down as you can, but don&rsquot stress too much about it), and cook undisturbed until browned well on the bottom but not fully cooked, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon (15mL) of olive oil to the pan and repeat with the remaining mushrooms.

4. Meanwhile, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook for 1 minute less than the package instructions for al dente, 8 to 9 minutes.

5. Once the second batch of mushrooms is browned well on the bottom, return the rest of the mushrooms to the pan and add the garlic and thyme. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring once or twice, until the mushrooms are fragrant and just tender, about 2 minutes more. Pour the wine into the pan and simmer, using a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits that have formed on the bottom of the pan, until some but not all of the liquid has evaporated, about 1 minute remove from the heat.

6. When the pasta is ready, reserve ½ cup (120mL) of pasta water with a measuring cup, then drain the pasta. Add the pasta and reserved pasta water to the pan and bring to a simmer. Cook, tossing and stirring, until the pasta is al dente and the sauce thickens and coats the pasta, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.

7. Break the prosciutto into small pieces and stir half into the pasta. Serve garnished with the remaining prosciutto and shaved Parmesan.