Penne With Roasted Cauliflower
Note: Coarse breadcrumbs, lightly sautéed or baked with 1 or 2 minced garlic cloves and a bit of olive oil, can be substituted for the croutons. From “Sylvia’s Table,” by Liz Neumark.
• 4 tbsp. olive oil, plus more for baking sheet, divided
• 1 small cauliflower (about 1 lb.)
• Salt and freshly ground pepper
• 1 c. fresh flat-leaf parsley
• 1 tbsp. grated lemon zest
• 1 tbsp. capers, rinsed and drained
• 1 lb. penne pasta (tube shape)
• 1/2 tsp. red chile flakes
• 1 c. garlic croutons, coarsely crushed (see Note)
Place oven rack at highest position and preheat oven to 475 degrees. Thinly coat baking sheet with bit of olive oil.
Trim cauliflower and cut it from top to bottom into thin slices, about 1/4 inch thick. Toss cauliflower with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, spread in single layer on prepared sheet and season with salt and pepper. Place sheet on rack and roast cauliflower for 18 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Place large pot of water over medium-high heat.
Pulse parsley, lemon zest and remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a small food processor or chop them together on a cutting board until a chunky mixture forms. Add capers and pulse until they are coarsely chopped.
When water is at a rolling boil, add a big pinch of salt, drop in the penne, and stir; cook the pasta, stirring from time to time, until al dente, according to the package directions, about 9 minutes. remove and reserve 1/2 cup of cooking water and drain pasta.
Toss pasta with cauliflower, parsley sauce and red chile flakes in large serving bowl; add reserved cooking water as necessary if the dish seems too thick.
Sprinkle the garlic croutons over and serve from a serving bowl or divide among 4 individual bowls.