Rigatoni with Roasted Cauliflower and Crispy Capers


Courtesy of Colu Henry, from her new book Back Pocket Pasta.

Serves 4


Rigatoni with Roasted Cauliflower and Crispy Capers


For 1 Batch(es)


  • 1 head(s) cauliflower, cored and cut into small florets
  • 1/3 cup(s) olive oil
  • 3/4 pound(s) tubular pasta, preferably rigatoni
  • 3 tablespoons capers, rinsed well
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 lemon(s) zested
  • 1/2 cup(s) flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Flaky salt, such as Maldon or Jacobsen
  • Grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano, for serving

Rigatoni with Roasted Cauliflower and Crispy Capers Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower florets with 2½ tablespoons of the oil and season with kosher salt and black pepper. Arrange the florets in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet and roast them, tossing occasionally, until deeply golden in color, about 25 to 30 minutes. Sprinkle with flaky salt. Remove and set aside.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons of the kosher salt and return to a rolling boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente according to package directions.
  4. When the pasta is about 5 minutes from being done, heat the remaining olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the capers and cook until they begin to crisp, about 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, add the garlic, and cook until golden, about 2 minutes. Stir in the red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute more.
  5. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the pasta, roasted cauliflower, lemon zest, and parsley and toss to coat, adding ¼ cup of pasta water or more (up to 1 cup), as needed to loosen up the sauce. Season with kosher salt and black pepper.
  6. Plate in bowls and top with grated cheese.

Recipe notes

I’ll eat cauliflower prepared any way, but something about roasting it brings out its nuttiness, which brings me to my knees. If you spot purple or “cheddar” cauliflower at the market, snatch them for this recipe! Their vivid colors (especially if you use two or three varieties) make this dish a sight for sore eyes. Make sure to crisp those capers for extra crunch.

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