Recipe: Pan-Roasted Cauliflower Pasta with Smoky Tomato Sauce
Serves 4 to 6
thin slices prosciutto
- 12 ounces
dry short pasta, such as fusilli, rotini, or gemelli
- 2 tablespoons
(16-ounce) bag frozen cauliflower florets, or 1 large head cauliflower (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into small florets
- 2 cloves
Pinch red pepper flakes
(14.5-ounce) cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons
coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or basil leaves
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, heat a 10- to 12-inch cast iron or wide, large, high-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Add the prosciutto in a single layer and cook until curling and lightly browned underneath, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook until browned on the other side, about 2 minutes more. Transfer the prosciutto to paper towels to drain. Set the pan aside (do not wash).
When the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook until al dente according to package instructions. Reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water, then drain the pasta and set it aside.
Meanwhile, add the oil to the skillet and place over medium heat until shimmering. Add the cauliflower and a big pinch of salt and stir to coat. Cook undisturbed until the bottoms start turning dark and golden-brown, about 1 minute. Continue cooking, stirring every minute or so, until the cauliflower has developed dark seared spots all over and is almost tender but not completely cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes total.
Reduce the heat to medium, add the garlic and red pepper flakes, and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the diced tomatoes and their juices, along with another big pinch of salt, stir to combine with the cauliflower, and simmer for 3 minutes. Taste and season with more salt if needed.
Add the pasta and toss to combine. If needed, add the reserved pasta water a tablespoon at a time to loosen the sauce so that the pasta is evenly coated. Transfer to serving bowls and crumble the crispy prosciutto over each portion. Sprinkle with the parsley or basil and grated cheese, if using.
Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Originally published April 2013.