Pasta with Creamy Cauliflower

Pasta with Creamy Cauliflower by 2sistersrecipes.com

Pasta with Creamy Cauliflower is an old Italian peasant dish that uses cauliflower as the main ingredient for the sauce.  The cauliflower slowly cooks down into a creamy texture and it’s cooked with pasta to create this amazing and tasty dish we call, pasta with creamy cauliflower!

 

A simple, easy dish that’s positively DELICIOUS!  Your kids will love this too!  Best of all, the kids will have no idea it’s made with cauliflower, so don’t tell them!

This is our family’s recipe handed down from our mom, and one we have been making for years!

Here, I made this dish with broken spaghetti, just the way our mom did it when we were kids.  She called this dish her Southern Italian version of “mac & cheese!”

Cooking the cauliflower down into a creamy mixture was our mom’s secret and a clever way to hide the cauliflower in this dish.  She was very clever.

It was her genius idea to get us to eat more cauliflower.

Pasta with Creamy Cauliflower by 2sistersrecipes.com

 

REASONS TO LOVE THIS DISH! 

  • This is an “all-in-one” pasta dish!
  • It is relatively easy and ready to serve in less than 20 minutes!
  • Loaded with a nutrient-dense vegetable.
  • And, omit the cheese and it’s VEGAN!

Everyone will think this dish is made with some cream in it because it has a similar texture to that of a creamy Alfredo dish.  But the truth is, there is NO cream in this recipe at all!

Making this dish totally healthier!

Pasta with Creamy Cauliflower by 2sistersrecipes.com

How To Make this Pasta with Creamy Cauliflower dish! (3 Easy Steps!)

1.  First,  the “Cauliflower” gets sauteed with some garlic, fresh parsley, and red pepper flakes to flavor it.

2.  Next, water is added, and the cauliflower is simmered until it melts into a creamy mixture.

3.  Then toss your favorite pasta in the creamy mixture and simmered until the pasta is tender.  A similar method to risotto.

Cook’s Notes and Tips!

  • This dish is best cooked with any kind of small pasta, like mini shells, broken spaghetti, ditalini, or elbows.
  • Like risotto, once you add the pasta to the creamy mixture, you will need to stir the pasta often, adding increments of water (as needed) until the pasta is cooked to al-dente, about 5 to 6 minutes.
  • Instead of water, you can use low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth to cook down the cauliflower.  Keep in mind, that it will change the color of this dish, and will have a darker appearance.
  • 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, for 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.
  • Omit the cheese and it’s perfect for the “Vegan” diet.
  • For a healthier twist, try using multi-grain spaghetti, or even gluten-free spaghetti.
Pasta with Creamy Cauliflower by 2sistersrecipes.com

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

Ingredients for Pasta with Creamy Cauliflower:

  • 1 small or medium Cauliflower

  • 1/2 pound (8-ounces) 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

1.  First, rinse and cut cauliflower into chunks. Discard the core.
2. Add the cauliflower to a large pot with 1 inch of water.  Cover and steam for 5 minutes.  Drain water.  Remove and set aside.

3.  Using the same pot, you 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.

4.  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.

5.  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

6.  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.

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

Pasta with Creamy Cauliflower by 2sistersrecipes.com

 

8.  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 add 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, or to your liking.

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

Pasta with Creamy Cauliflower by 2sistersrecipes.com

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

Serves 4 to 6

MORE TASTY RECIPES!! 

Your Family and Friends Will Love This Pasta with Creamy Cauliflower!

This is such a delicious dish! You will need to serve it with some grated Pecorino Romano cheese or with grated Parmesan cheese on top, as the finishing touch!  A great and easy weeknight dish to make!

But don’t take our word for it, you’ll have to try it!

ENJOY!

Yield: 4 to 5 servings

Pasta with Creamy Cauliflower

Pasta with Creamy Cauliflower

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!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 small or medium Cauliflower
  • 1/2 pound (8-ounces) 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

Instructions

  1. Rinse 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 for 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 add 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.
  15. When the pasta is perfectly cooked. I like to stir in 1 more "dash" of red pepper flakes. Turn off the 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.
  18. Yields: 4 to 5 servings

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4 to 5 servings

Serving Size:

1 serving

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 256Total Fat: 11.9gCarbohydrates: 31.5gFiber: .3.1gSugar: .1gProtein: 6.6g

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

Pasta with Creamy Cauliflower by 2sistersrecipes.com

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Happy Cooking!

xo Anna and Liz

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11 Comments

  1. 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!