Roasted Cauliflower Penne & Pinoli


I love, love, love cauliflower!

This dish is so Sicilian with the pine nuts (pinoli) and currants (passoli) but you can certainly substitute chopped walnuts and raisins if that’s what you have in your pantry.

The currants add a touch of sweetness which balances out the spicy pepper flakes.

After a busy day, sometimes I don’t really feel like cooking (yes, I have those days too). But, opening the refrigerator to discover a tub of Tupperware containing this healthy and satisfying one-dish meal is a welcome sight. Heating up the leftovers is easy. Using a small saucepan, warm the pasta with a drizzle of fresh EVOO,


  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/2 pound penne pasta
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup currants
  • 2 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  1. Separate the cauliflower into small florets, (see Macaroni and Cauliflower Soup) spread on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper.
  2. Roast in a 350* oven until golden brown and tender (about 45-50 minutes).
  3. In another pan, toast the pine nuts in the over for 7-8 minutes until golden. (Watch closely so they don’t burn). Remove from oven, let cool.
  4. When the cauliflower is nearly done, in a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the penne.
  5. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water, drain the pasta and put back in pot.
  6. Add the garlic, parmesan cheese, currants, Italian parsley and the pine nuts.
  7. Toss the mixture with some of the reserved pasta water (if the pasta seems dry, add more of the reserved water as necessary).
  8. Add the roasted cauliflower and dried pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper, drizzle with a bit more olive oil.
  9. Serve with additional Parmesan cheese if desired.
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