Growing up, my younger brothers and I didn’t make dinner easy for our mom. We could agree on a very short list of menu items, including pizza, pasta and peanut butter sandwiches (white bread, hold the crust!). We ate more spaghetti with marinara sauce for dinner than anything else. It was the meal I made for myself when Mom made something I didn’t like (cough cough, steak).
This cauliflower and spaghetti dish is a throwback to my childhood dinners. These days, I opt for whole grain pasta because it keeps me feeling full for so much longer, and I like to add as much vegetables as pasta. I’ve been really into roasted cauliflower this winter and it’s the perfect, hearty and healthy addition to this classic comfort meal.
I’ve been tempted to sprinkle Parmesan over everything that enters my oven ever since I made Ashley’s Parmesan-crusted croutons, so I could resist adding a sprinkle to these cauliflower “steaks.” (By steaks, I mean long, thick slices of cauliflower.) Just a small sprinkling of Parmesan transforms into golden, bubbling goodness in the oven and elevates this simple, three-part dish to something special.
Since this dish is so simple, the individual components become all the more important. You’ll want to choose high quality whole grain pasta and a fresh-tasting marinara sauce. They are not all created equally!
I remember the first time I tried whole wheat pasta at my friend’s house in third grade. It was mushy and thick and I had the hardest time being a gracious dinner guest that night. Whole wheat pasta has come a long way since then. My favorite brand of whole wheat pasta is DeLallo, so I’m really excited to be working with them this year. If you’re still skeptical about whole grain pastas, I hope you’ll give DeLallo’s pasta a chance!
- 1 large head of cauliflower
- 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 ounce finely grated Parmesan (about ¾ cup)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Turn the cauliflower on its side and slice off the protruding end of the stem. Place the cauliflower on a cutting board with the floret side up and use a sharp knife to slice it into 1-inch thick slices. Don't worry if some of your slices fall apart.
- Transfer the cauliflower to your prepared baking sheet. Drizzle on two tablespoons of olive oil and gently toss to coat. Rub the oil onto all sides of the cauliflower until all pieces are lightly coated, adding more oil if necessary. Sprinkle the cauliflower with salt and pepper. Arrange it in a single layer and roast for 20 minutes.
- Remove the cauliflower from the oven and carefully flip the cauliflower. Sprinkle the Parmesan over the cauliflower and return it to the oven for another 18 to 20 minutes, until the Parmesan is golden and the cauliflower is tender and caramelized on the edges.
- Meanwhile, bring a large, salted pot of water to boil. Add the spaghetti and cook until al dente, according to package directions. Drain and toss with a light drizzle of olive oil to prevent sticking.
- Warm the sauce in a medium saucepan on the stove. Cover and maintain a gentle simmer until you're ready to serve.
- Divide the spaghetti into individual bowls or plates, top with ample marinara sauce and roasted cauliflower. If you'd like, add a sprinkle of additional Parmesan, pepper and/or red pepper flakes.
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by DeLallo Foods and I received compensation for my participation. Opinions are my own, always. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who support C+K!