Breadcrumbs usually lie like a lazy blanket on top of pasta or casseroles. For this quick dish, we toasted them up in flavored olive oil, tossed them with roasted cauliflower, and let them shine as a main ingredient.
Read below for the recipe...Cauliflower and breadcrumbs alone can be bland, so we added flavor by first roasting the cauliflower in the oven (this also saves time, as you can roast it while prepping the breadcrumbs and cooking the pasta).
We then slowly heated garlic and anchovy filets in some olive oil until the anchovies dissolved. Don't worry if you aren't an anchovies-on-pizza kind of person. This process leaves no fishy taste behind — just a deep, salty background.
We think it's key to take the time to break the cauliflower into tiny, bite-size florets. We also used some leftover whole wheat bread, which is why our breadcrumbs look extra brown. Of course, any bread makes good crumbs once you whiz it in a food processor.
Farfalle with Cauliflower and Toasted Breadcrumbs
one head of cauliflower, cored and broken into bite-size florets
olive oil for coating the cauliflower (about 2 tablespoons)
1 pound farfalle, or bow-tie shaped pasta
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped.
3 anchovy filets
1 cup breadcrumbs*
1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
Toss the cauliflower with olive oil, season it with salt and pepper, and spread it on a baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, until florets are cooked through and beginning to brown.
Cook pasta according to directions, making sure to salt the water.
Heat the 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large sautée pan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and anchovy filets, stirring often to help the anchovies break down. Add the breadcrumbs, increase the heat to medium, and toast for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring often.
When the cauliflower is roasted, add it to the pan with the breadcrumbs. Cook for another 2 minutes, then add the red pepper.
Drain the cooked pasta and add to the sautée pan (or toss everything in a large bowl, if your pan won't hold it all). Season generously with salt and pepper, and add a few more swirls of olive oil if the mixture seems dry. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve.
*We tore up 3 slices of bread and pulsed them in a food processor to make our own breadcrumbs, but you could also use store bought crumbs.