The other day I was out to eat with my family and my mom asked everyone if they could only eat one food for the rest of their lives what would it be? Both of my cousins and my great aunt had no idea. My mom, my dad, and I all had an instant answer. My mom said she would eat Chinese food, specifically some type of chicken dish, my dad said he would eat fried fish, and without another thought I said I'd eat pasta. When pressed as to what kind of pasta I told everyone I'd eat buttered noodles with garlic and Parmesan cheese.
My answer wasn't too far fetched as when I was in college I often ate pasta every night for dinner. It was what I liked. Even now if I'm home by myself or I don't know what to make I end up making pasta. It's easy, it's delicious, and I love it. We usually have pasta once a week for dinner and while my husband likes it, I know he'd rather have a variety. My main pasta dishes include baked penne, spaghetti and meatballs, and eggplant parmesan. While they are all good, it's nice to switch it up every once in a while.
I found a recipe that uses roasted cauliflower in a pasta dish. I've used roasted cauliflower in pasta dishes before but never with mustard brown butter. I know what you are thinking, mustard brown butter? Yes it sounds a little off but the more I thought about it the more I thought it could work. Salty and nutty brown butter paired with spicy dijon? Yep, it could definitely work.
The dish was fairly easy to make. Roast the cauliflower, brown the butter, cook the pasta, and put it all together. The disaster came when I was mixing up the mustard brown butter. It called for whole grain mustard but I wanted to use dijon. No big deal, right? Wrong! Whisking together the mustard and butter resulted in a broken sauce. I was a little upset but once I whisked it into the pasta it looked fine.
The pasta turned out really good. The sauce was rich and slightly spicy from the mustard. Both the butter and the capers added a bit of saltiness and the roasted cauliflower was packed with flavor! The breadcrumbs on top were a nice addition and gave the pasta an added texture. This dish is totally a winner!
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
- ⅓ c. olive oil
- salt and pepper
- ⅓ c. capers, drained
- ¾ c. breadcrumbs
- 1 t. red chile flakes
- 6 T. unsalted butter
- ½ c. dijon mustaard
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 12 oz. penne pasta
- Heat oven broiler to high. Toss the cauliflower with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes, turning once.
- Heat ¼ cup of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook capers for 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon.
- Add the breadcrumbs and chile flakes to the pan with the oil and cook for 3-4 minutes or until crisp. Transfer to the plate with the capers.
- Wipe the skillet clean and melt butter over medium heat. Cook until the butter has browned. Stir in the dijon mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper. Pour sauce into a small bowl.
- Meanwhile, cook the penne according to the package directions. Drain, reserving ½ cup of pasta water.
- Add the pasta to the skillet along with half of the breadcrumb and capers mixture. Stir in the sauce and the reserved pasta water. Add cauliflower and toss to combine. Top with remaining breadcrumb mixture.