Pasta with creamy cauliflower sauce and crunchy cheese: recipe to surprise (even if you hate vegetables)


If you have coliphobics at home, this pasta recipe with cauliflower cream can be your ace up your sleeve. The creamy sauce hides and disguises the stronger flavor of this vegetable that so much throws back those who have a trauma with boiled and overcooked cabbages, but does not give up taking advantage of its virtues, avoiding completely crushing it.

Following the advice of Melissa Clark, we finished the dish with some very simple crunchy crumbs to prepare, which undoubtedly enhance the recipe creating a delicious contrast of textures and adding a lot of flavor to the whole. In the absence of pecorino, a good wedge of cured Parmesan is always a worthy substitute.


For 2 persons
  • Short dry penne rigate pasta 180 g
  • Bread crumbs 30 g
  • Parmesan cheese and a little more to serve 30 g
  • White or sweet onion 1
  • Cauliflower (heavy cut) 250 g
  • Liquid cooking cream (light cream) 200 ml
  • Lemon zest
  • Hot paprika (optional)
  • Ground black pepper
  • Chives or fresh parsley
  • Salt
  • Extra virgin olive oil

How to make pasta with cauliflower cream

Difficulty: Easy
  • Total time 1 hour
  • Elaboration 15 m
  • Cooking 45 m

We will start by cooking the pasta in plenty of salty water, removing it a couple of minutes before even al dente. We want it semi-hard because it will finish cooking in the pan.

Drain and let cool spread out on a tray so that it does not pile up, reserving about 500 ml of the cooking water in a jug. Separately chop the onion finely and cut the washed cauliflower florets into small pieces. Reserve.

Heat two or three tablespoons of oil in a frying pan and toast the breadcrumbs over medium heat, stirring so that it does not burn. Add the cheese and cook for a couple of minutes, allowing to melt and toasted crumbs to form **. Add a little hot paprika or black pepper, remove and reserve.

In the same pan, add more oil and sauté the onion for a few minutes until it becomes transparent. Add the cauliflower, season and sauté over medium heat for about 20-30 minutes, until very tender. Add little by little streams of the pasta water so that the bottom does not dry out and it becomes the bottom of the sauce, but without wasting it.

Crush the cauliflower with the spoon as it cooks, to leave it in a fine texture but without completely disappearing. If there are more delicate diners at home, we can remove it from the pan and blend it completely with a mixer.

Add the cream with the lemon, stir and give a hit of pepper. Let it reduce to a simmer for a few minutes to thicken. Add freshly grated cheese to taste, the pasta and a good stream of the cooking water, stirring well.

Cook for another 3-4 minutes, adjusting the liquid level if necessary. Serve immediately with reserved crisp, chives or parsley, and even more cheese, if desired.

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