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Roasted Cauliflower with Pasta and Lemon Zest

As a kid I would only eat cauliflower if it was drenched in Cheez Whiz. I don’t think I’ve had Cheez Whiz since the 1980s and doubtful I’ll ever have it again. Fortunately, I’ve come to like cauliflower without gobs of processed cheese that’s why it’s great to find a recipe that brings the vegetable to my plate.

This dish is quite simple.  It’s flavor is fairly muted with the few ingredients.  Use some high quality Parmigiano-Reggiano to help boost the flavor or a Romano cheese if you want more flavor without the nuttiness of the Reggiano cheese. Either option works and feel free to add some more olive oil to each dish after serving.

Roasted Cauliflower with Pasta and Lemon Zest
Serves 4

1 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 red onion, cut into ¼-inch-thick slices
¼ cup salt-pack capers, rinsed
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb dried orecchiette pasta
½ cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest (from 2 lemons)

Preheat oven to 450°. Toss together cauliflower, onion, capers and 2 tablespoons of oil in an oven safe casserole dish. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 40 minutes stirring halfway through, until cauliflower is tender and brown.

Meanwhile boil some water for the pasta. Add pasta and cook according to instructions. Toss hot pasta with remaining olive oil, the parsley and lemon zest. Add cauliflower mixture and season with salt and pepper. Toss gently to combine.