Pasta with roasted cauliflower and mixed olives

roasted cauliflower with fresh parsley

Roasted cauliflower is such a versatile dish. 

On its own, roasted cauliflower makes a great side, but I often cook it and then use it as part of another composed dish. Like here, in this roasted cauliflower and mixed olives pasta dish.

If you don’t like olives, you can omit them and just roast the cauliflower alone, and continue with the steps below. If you’re serving a mixed crowd, consider offering the mixed chopped olives at the table as an add-in; you won’t get quite the same flavour without cooking the olives with the cauliflower and cheese, but it will still be good. 

roasted cauliflower and mixed chopped olives

You can also leave out the cheese, and offer it at the table if someone in your group can’t (or won’t!) eat the pasta with cheese.

And consider adding toasted garlic breadcrumbs; whether you mix them with the pasta in the kitchen, or offer a dish of crunchy garlic crumbs at the table for each person to top their own dish, they’re a worthy add-on here.

Pasta with roasted cauliflower and mixed olives INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large head cauliflower, washed and cut into small florets
  • 2 tbsp olive oil 
  • 2 tbsp freshly chopped parsley, optional
  • 1 cup mixed olives; remove pits and coarsely chop the olives
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
  • 1 450g package short pasta (such as penne rigate)
  • salt, pepper

Pasta with roasted cauliflower and mixed olives METHOD

  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Toss the cauliflower pieces in the olive oil, a generous pinch of sea and freshly grated pepper; spread on a baking tray and roast for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chopped olives and grated cheese, mix and return to the oven for 10 additional minutes.
  • While the cauliflower is roasting, cook the pasta, following package directions.
  • Reserve a mugful of the pasta’s cooking liquid before draining. Once the pasta is drained, return it to the pot, off the heat, and add the warm cauliflower mix, scraping any oil and small crispy pieces of cauliflower into the pot as well. Add the fresh parsley, if using. Stir well, adding extra olive oil or reserved pasta cooking water if the dish looks too dry. Serve with additional cheese for topping. Serves 4-6
roasted cauliflower with fresh parsley


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