Fine Cooking’s Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower, Arugula and Prosciutto is a wonderful example of layering flavors and texture. The sweet grape tomatoes paired with the salty bits of prosciutto, slight crunch of the cauliflower and peppery arugula is a mouthful of yumminess. The additions of the garlic, sage, and Parmigiano-Reggiano round out the impressive combination.
Now what did I do differently? For starters, I wanted a better balance between veggies and starch so I cut back the amount of pasta from 12 ounces down to 8, after all, there were only two of us and we still had plenty of leftovers. Then I increased the amount of cauliflower by using the entire head (albeit it was a smaller one); and added an extra clove of garlic.
Weighing in at slightly over a pound, I also used multi-colored grape tomatoes for more color. What do I wish I HAD done? Roughly chopped the baby arugula so that it wouldn’t be so stringy to eat (here’s a heads up for you). The task of removing the stems altogether would be near impossible, so chopping them is a good alternative.
Don’t forget to reserve a cup of the pasta water. An easy reminder is to put a measuring cup into the colander, this way you can’t drain the orecchiette unless you’ve already removed the cup. I only needed about 1/3 cup of the water to obtain the correct amount of moisture.
All-in-all, it was extremely tasty and The Mr. was duly impressed, admitting it was a lot more tasty than he had anticipated—I concur.
Pasta, Cauliflower, Arugula and Prosciutto
- Kosher salt
- One-half medium head cauliflower, cored and cut into 3/4-inch florets (3-1/2 cups)
- 1 pint grape tomatoes
- 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 9 large fresh sage leaves
- 4 large cloves garlic, peeled
- 4 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto
- 12 oz. dried orecchiette
- 5 oz. baby arugula (5 lightly packed cups)
- 3/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil.
- Toss the cauliflower, tomatoes, oil, 3/4 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper on a rimmed baking sheet; spread in a single layer.
- Roast, stirring once or twice, until the cauliflower begins to turn golden and tender, about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, pulse the sage and garlic in a food processor until minced. Add the prosciutto and pulse until coarsely chopped.
- Once the cauliflower is golden, toss the herb mixture into the vegetables and continue to roast until fragrant and the cauliflower is golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Boil the orecchiette until al dente, 9 to 10 minutes. Reserve 1 cup pasta-cooking water. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Stir in the roasted cauliflower mixture, arugula, cheese, and enough pasta water to moisten. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
By Pamela Anderson of Fine Cooking