Pasta with Creamy Cauliflower - 2 Sisters Recipes by Anna and Liz
Pasta Dishes/ Vegetarian Recipes

Pasta with Creamy Cauliflower

Pasta with Creamy Cauliflower by 2sistersrecipes.com

Pasta with Creamy Cauliflower.  Cauliflower is quickly steamed and then sauteed with garlic and extra virgin olive oil.  Then it’s slowly cooked down until the cauliflower melts into a creamy texture.  Next, the cauliflower mixture is cooked with your favorite pasta and served with grated Pecorino Romano cheese.  Simple and delicious!

Here, I made it with broken spaghetti just the way our mom has been making it for years!  She called this dish her Southern Italian version of comfort food (aka her Mac & Cheese for us kids). But don’t take our word for it, you’ll have to try it!

Pasta with Creamy Cauliflower by 2sistersrecipes.com

I make this dish almost every week and decided to revive it from our archives.
This is an “all-in-one” pasta dish that is relatively easy, and can be made in less than 20 mintues.

In Italy this pasta dish is known as “pasta cavolefiore.”  When nonna Maria makes her pasta with creamy cauliflower for her family, her grandchildren go bananas over it!  She cleverly hides the cauliflower in this dish, cooking the cauliflower down into a creamy mixture is her secret.  Just another clever way to get us to eat more cauliflower.

It’s so creamy, everyone will think it’s made with cream, creating a similar texture to an Alfredo.  But the truth is, there is NO cream in this recipe at all!  Making this dish Healthier!

Simple and delicious, Pasta with Creamy Cauliflower is SO flavorful everyone will be asking for seconds!! ENJOY!

A Cook’s Notes:

This dish is best cooked with any kind of small pasta, like mini shells, broken spaghetti, ditalini, or elbows.  Instead of water, you can use low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth to cook down the cauliflower.  Keep in mind, the color of the pasta will turn out darker.

If you prefer to cook the pasta separately, then reduce the water to 1 cup when cooking down the cauliflower.  Next, under-cook the pasta, about 2 minutes and finish cooking the pasta with the creamy cauliflower mixture.

Pecorino Romano cheese is a saltier cheese and adds more flavor to this dish. You may also use grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese if preferred.  For a healthier twist, try using multi-grain spaghetti, or even gluten-free spaghetti.

*You may follow along or jump down to the bottom of this post to our full recipe card.

Pasta with Creamy Cauliflower 

  • 1 small or medium Cauliflower
  • 1/2 pound of spaghetti – broken into pieces
  • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes, plus a dash more
  • 4 to 5 garlic cloves- chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley
  • 2 cups of water, and more as needed
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Wash and cut cauliflower into chunks. Discard the core.
In a large pot with 1 inch of water, add the cauliflower.
Cover and steam for 5 minutes. Drain water.  Remove and set aside.

Using the same pot, need to first dry the pot with a paper towel.
Add olive oil and heat on medium-low heat.  Add garlic and crushed red pepper.
Sauté the garlic until golden color.
Add the cauliflower back into the pot with the garlic and oil and toss in fresh chopped parsley and sauté for 2 minutes, stirring while the flavors are infusing with one another.
Add 2 cups of water to the mixture.  Add salt and fresh cracked pepper.  Cover with a lid.
Simmer on low for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the cauliflower is cooked down to a soft, creamy mixture.

Pasta with Creamy Cauliflower by 2sistersrecipes.com

In the meantime, break the spaghetti into small pieces.
If you have a large cauliflower then you can use the entire package of spaghetti.
I prefer to have more of the creamy cauliflower with my pasta, so I prefer to use less pasta in this dish.

Raise the heat and bring the cauliflower mixture to a full boil.
Add spaghetti into the mixture.  Bring to a full boil, then lower the heat to medium.

Pasta with Creamy Cauliflower by 2sistersrecipes.com
Stirring occasionally, and even constantly.  This will need nurturing, like risotto.

The water will get absorbed as the pasta is cooking.  Cook the spaghetti for about 6 to 7 minutes, or until al dente. Gradually adding more water, ( increments of 1/4 cup) as needed. The mixture will be thick and creamy. Keep tasting the pasta until it’s cooked to al-dente.

When the pasta is perfectly cooked.  I like to stir in 1 more “dash” of red pepper flakes.  Turn off heat.  Taste, and season with salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.

Pasta with Creamy Cauliflower by 2sistersrecipes.com

Ladle pasta with creamy cauliflower into serving bowls.  Add grated Pecorino Romano cheese on top.
Serve immediately.  If the mixture is too sticky, stir in some extra virgin olive oil, or water into the pasta.

Serves 4 to 6

Pasta with Creamy Cauliflower
Author: 
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 to 5 servings
 
Pasta with Creamy Cauliflower is creamy and delicious! Cauliflower is quickly steamed and then sauteed with garlic and extra virgin olive oil. Then it's slowly cooked down until the cauliflower melts into a creamy texture. Best of all, it's a genius way to hide the cauliflower!
Ingredients
  • 1 small or medium Cauliflower
  • ½ pound of spaghetti - broken into pieces
  • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • ⅛ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes, plus a dash more
  • 4 to 5 garlic cloves- chopped
  • ½ cup fresh chopped parsley
  • 2 cups of water, and more as needed
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Instructions
  1. Wash and cut cauliflower into chunks. Discard the core.
  2. In a large pot with 1 inch of water, add the cauliflower.
  3. Cover and steam for 5 minutes. Drain water. Remove and set aside.
  4. Using the same pot, first dry the inside of the pot with a paper towel.
  5. Add olive oil and heat on medium-low heat. Add garlic and crushed red pepper.
  6. Sauté the garlic until golden color.
  7. Add the cauliflower back into the pot with the garlic and oil and toss in fresh chopped parsley and sauté for 2 minutes, stirring while the flavors are infusing with one another.
  8. Add 2 cups of water to the mixture. Add salt and fresh cracked pepper. Cover with a lid and simmer on low heat for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the cauliflower is cooked down to a soft, creamy mixture.
  9. In the meantime, break the spaghetti into small pieces, about 1 to 2-inches long.
  10. If you have a large cauliflower then you can use more to the entire package of spaghetti. (I prefer to have more of the creamy cauliflower with my pasta, so I prefer to use less pasta in this dish).
  11. Raise the heat and bring the cauliflower mixture to a full boil.
  12. Add spaghetti and Bring to a full boil, then lower the heat to medium.
  13. Stirring occasionally, and even constantly. This will need nurturing, like risotto.
  14. The water will get absorbed as the pasta is cooking. Cook the spaghetti for about 6 to 7 minutes, or until al dente. Gradually adding more water, ( increments of ¼ cup) as needed. The mixture will be thick and creamy. Keep tasting the pasta until it's cooked to al-dente.
  15. When the pasta is perfectly cooked. I like to stir in 1 more "dash" of red pepper flakes. Turn off heat. Taste, and season with salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.
  16. Ladle pasta with creamy cauliflower into serving bowls. Add grated Pecorino Romano cheese on top.
  17. Serve immediately. If the mixture is too sticky, stir in some (2 teaspoons) extra virgin olive oil, or water into the pasta.

Thanks for PINNING!!   And thanks for stopping by!!

Pasta with Creamy Cauliflower by 2sistersrecipes.com

 

You Might Also Like

9 Comments

  • Reply
    annaliz
    April 18, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    Hi Vincent,
    Great idea….we will definitely add you onto our site as well.
    Thanks and regards,
    Liz and Anna

  • Reply
    Carla
    April 19, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    This recipe sounds better than the one my Dad gave me. Will have to try it soon!

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    April 20, 2011 at 1:41 am

    Hi Carla,
    Great! Let us know how it turns out if you make it…
    Liz

  • Reply
    Tricia Buice
    January 19, 2016 at 2:11 am

    Another yummy recipe ladies! Thank you 🙂 Have a wonderful week!

    • Reply
      annaliz
      January 19, 2016 at 3:34 am

      Thank you Tricia! Enjoy the week!

  • Reply
    SavoringTime in the Kitchen
    January 20, 2016 at 4:01 pm

    I really love this idea! My grandsons love mac n cheese and I'd love to see if they would enjoy eating pasta this way. Anything to get them to eat more veggies. Great recipe!

    • Reply
      annaliz
      January 21, 2016 at 6:53 pm

      Thanks Sue! And we definitely agree! …anytime we can get them to eat more veggies is the way to go! xoxo

  • Reply
    Massimo
    March 9, 2018 at 5:31 pm

    Great version of a staple dish in Southern Italian cusine… Just one minor suggestion: water to be added to pasta and cauliflower should be warm, so it won’t stop pasta from cooking. Siete bravissime!

    • Reply
      by Anna and Liz
      April 4, 2018 at 9:09 am

      Thanks Massimo!! Love your suggestions!! Grazie mille!! 🙂

    Leave a Reply

    Rate this recipe: