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December 28, 2020

Roasted Cauliflower Spinach Pesto Pasta

If you're in the mood for healthy comfort food that's easy to make and packs in plenty of vegetables and greens, try this roasted cauliflower spinach pesto pasta.

If you’re in the mood for healthy comfort food that’s easy to make and packs in plenty of vegetables and greens, try this roasted cauliflower spinach pesto pasta.

Roasted Cauliflower Spinach Pesto Pasta

Things always slow down the week between Christmas and New Year’s, but this year feels different.

In the collective desire to say goodbye to the past 365 days and greet 2021 with big dose of optimism, I think we want this week to go by faster than normal.

Haven’t we all been ready to leave 2020 behind since back in the spring?

Roasted Cauliflower Spinach Pesto Pasta

With the down moments that everyone has experienced, I am grateful to look back on the bright spots that managed to appear, however small they may be.

They are a reminder that silver linings are important.

And hopefully in the future what seems insignificant at first will have me pause to take it in because now I appreciate more than ever that you have to enjoy the little moments.

Roasted Cauliflower Spinach Pesto Pasta

We already have a bottle of champagne chilling in the fridge for NYE, but I am not planning on making anything bite-sized or fancy.

To continue on a theme, I will be cooking comfort food with plenty of vegetables like this roasted cauliflower spinach pesto pasta.

I have eaten a lot of cauliflower this year, so it seems like the appropriate way to bid adieu to 2020.

It’s garlicky, nutty and herby, so I really can’t ask anything else from a hearty pasta dish.

Roasted Cauliflower Spinach Pesto Pasta

How To Make Roasted Cauliflower Spinach Pesto Pasta

First, I start with the cauliflower since that’s what takes the longest to cook.

The good news is that you can make the pesto and noodles while the cauliflower is in the oven.

I trim the stem of a head of cauliflower and slice it lengthwise. Some of it will fall apart. Usually, the center slices stay intact.

The flat sides maximize the browning potential on the sheet pan.

You can break up any large pieces after the cauliflower finishes roasting, so they are closer in size to the pasta.

For the pesto, I use my food processor to mince a couple garlic cloves. Then I add spinach, pistachios, Parmesan, salt, pepper and olive oil.

Once of my favorite things to do with pesto is to try another nut besides pine nuts or walnuts.

Roasted Cauliflower Spinach Pesto Pasta

With the pasta, I like to use orecchiette because this ear-shaped noodle scoops up the pesto and the tiny bits of roasted cauliflower.

In the last few minutes of cooking, I warm the pesto on low in a large skillet. Then I use a slotted spoon to move the pasta from the pot to the pesto.

I do this so there is a just a little starchy water that clings to the orecchiette.

After that I add the cauliflower and minced chives and stir everything together.

Before serving, I sprinkle on shaved Parmesan and chopped pistachios.

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Roasted Cauliflower Spinach Pesto Pasta

Roasted Cauliflower Spinach Pesto Pasta

  • Author: Paige Adams
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20-25 minutes
  • Total Time: 30-35 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 1x

If you’re in the mood for healthy comfort food that’s easy to make and packs in plenty of vegetables and greens, try this roasted cauliflower spinach pesto pasta.

Ingredients

For cauliflower

1 head cauliflower, leaves removed, bottom stem trimmed

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

For pesto

2 garlic cloves

1 cup packed baby spinach

1/4 cup salted roasted pistachios

1/2 ounce grated Parmesan

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoons black pepper

1/3 cup olive oil

For pasta

8 ounces orecchiette

1 tablespoon minced chives

Shaved Parmesan for serving

Chopped pistachios for serving

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Cut the cauliflower lengthwise into 3/4-inch slices. On a sheet pan, toss the cauliflower 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

Arrange the cauliflower in a single layer. Roast for 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking, until browned. Break up the larger slices of cauliflower into smaller pieces.

While the cauliflower is roasting, make the pesto. Mince the garlic cloves in the bowl of a food processor. Add the spinach, pistachios, Parmesan, salt and pepper. Puree the mixture. While the motor is running, drizzle the olive oil through the feeder tube until the pesto is fully combined.

Cook the orecchiette according to package instructions. In the last few minutes of cooking, warm the pesto in a large skillet over low heat. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pasta to the skillet. Then add the cauliflower and chives, stirring everything together.

Top with shaved Parmesan and chopped pistachios before serving.

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