Cauliflower has become a staple for us since we started eating a more plant-heavy diet the past year. I never use to be very excited about it when a big bowl of steamed cauliflower or broccoli was presented to me. Then I discovered the incredible joy of roasting vegetables. That was a game-changer not only for these vegetables but for most of them in general. Roasting a head of cauliflower with olive oil and herbs can become a satisfying and fulfilling meal by its self. This recipe for roasted cauliflower ragu is a perfect example of another direction cauliflower can go.
I was inspired to make this recipe after making one for cauliflower ragu from the cookbook Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables. Joshua McFadden wrote this book which has become an every-day go-to reference guide in my kitchen. Whenever I am stuck on which way to use a vegetable, I know I can count of Joshua to inspire me. I like his recipe for cauliflower ragu, but after having some leftover roasted cauliflower that was heavily seasoned with chiles and sage, I was inspired to take it in this direction.
Pasta. I always serve my ragu sauces with thick and hearty pasta. Never use a thin and delicate pasta as the sauce will overwhelm it. I usually have Bucatini or Pappardelle on hand as it is the most often used pasta in our pantry.
Whenever I have a little leftover pasta in the pantry or freezer, I tend to grab for this recipe as I always have cauliflower in the refrigerator. When in a pinch I have also mixed it with brown rice. We find this recipe rustic and comforting, as well as rich in flavors. Hope you enjoy it too, and maybe cauliflower will become a favorite ingredient in your kitchen also.
Roasted Cauliflower Ragu
** serves 4 – 6 depending on how hungry you are
1 3/4 pound cauliflower, green leaves, and stem removed
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 cup thinly sliced yellow onion or leeks
1/2 teaspoon Aleppo chili
1 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1 cup water or dry white wine
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons Italian parsley, finely minced
parmesan cheese, to serve
your favorite cooked pasta to serve 4 – 6 people
kosher salt, to taste
fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 425.
In a large mixing bowl separate the cauliflower into pieces then add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and toss with your hands. Scatter over a large baking sheet and roast for 25 minutes. Stirring every so often until the pieces are lightly golden and a little brown.
In a deep saucepan over medium heat add the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onion or leek and stir. Cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic.
Add 2/3s of the roasted cauliflower to the onion mixture and stir. Add the Aleppo chili, sage, and water or wine. Stir and cook over very low heat. Stirring every so often to break up the cauliflower. The mixture will become very soft and the liquid will absorb.
Stir in the remaining cauliflower, butter, and parsley and cook just until the butter is melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat of the stove.
Cook pasta according to the directions of the package you are using. I like to undercook by 1 minute. Drain well.
Add the cooked pasta to the ragu mixture and stir to coat.
Serve with parmesan cheese.