Everything is better tossed with pasta, right? Yep, even cauliflower haters are going to love this one. Fresh cauliflower tossed with your favorite pasta, sweet caramelized onions, salty feta, fresh herbs, and crunchy breadcrumbs – yum. Best part? You can make it completely ahead of time and just heat it when you’re ready to eat.
The summer is flying by. It seems like just yesterday it was cold and snowing! I cannot believe the 4th of July has come and gone already. I hope you all enjoyed a fantastic weekend celebrating with your family and friends. I had one of the best – full of good food (recipes to come!), lots of family and friends, fireworks, pool time – it was so much fun.
But, now it’s back to reality! I have to apologize for never posting the pie recipe I promised – I got the dough up and then I was having computer trouble and wasn’t able to post the pie. I promise, it will be up tomorrow!
Today is make ahead Monday and it’s one of my new favorite recipes! I love cauliflower – always have. It was my favorite vegetable as a kid; yeah usually kids hate cauliflower, but not me. Well, if you have a cauliflower hater in your life, this pasta will change their minds!
Tossing any vegetable with pasta makes it appealing, right? Add sweet caramelized onions, salty feta, fresh herbs, and crispy breadcrumbs and cauliflower becomes downright irresistible!
I love making this meal ahead because the flavors just get better the longer it sits. It takes a little time to caramelize onions, but you can get them going while you prepare the rest of your ingredients.
Once your onions are caramelized and sweet, you can get your pasta cooking. I like to use any short cut that I have on hand. I used Campanelle for mine, but you can use your favorite cut or whatever you have.
To cook the cauliflower, add it in to your onions with a little water. I like to steam the cauliflower with the onions so that it soaks up a lot of flavor. After 8 minutes, it will be perfectly cooked and you can add more flavors! Red pepper flakes, lemon, fresh herbs, and feta cheese.
For a little more texture and flavor I decided to top each serving off with toasted garlic breadcrumbs. This is one of my favorite ways to take an average pasta dish to extraordinary! It’s so good you’ll find yourself adding it to all of your favorite pasta meals!
This make-ahead meal is very versatile in that you can use whatever combination of ingredients that you want. Not into cauliflower? Use broccoli, asparagus, zucchini, or whatever your favorite – you can even use a mixture. If you don’t like feta, use goat cheese, ricotta silata, or Parmesan – anything goes!
You can refrigerate each portion or freeze for another time. If you’re going to freeze any, be sure to add a little extra pasta water to each portion so that it doesn’t dry out. Also you don’t want to add the breadcrumbs until you are ready to serve – otherwise they will lose their crunch.
This meal is going to have you looking forward to the leftovers – it’s so full of flavor and reheats very well! However you choose to enjoy it, you’re going to love it!
Pasta with Cauliflower, Caramelized Onions, and Feta
Fresh cauliflower combines with sweet caramelized onions, salty feta, and fresh herbs in this make ahead pasta. It’s good eaten right out of the pan, but it’s the perfect make ahead meal. Top it off with flavorful and crunchy breadcrumbs and you’ve got a fantastic weeknight meal!
| Serves: 6-8 | Prep Time: 10 Min | Cook Time: 40 Min |
2 Tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
3 Medium Onions, thinly sliced
Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
1 Pound Short Cut Pasta, such as penne, rotini, gemelli, etc.
1 Head Cauliflower, cut into florets
Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes, to taste
Zest and Juice of 1 Lemon
½ Cup Crumbled Feta Cheese
Handful of Fresh Dill, chopped
Handful of Fresh Parsley, chopped
1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
½ Cup Panko Breadcrumbs
2 Cloves Garlic, finely minced
Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the sliced onions and season with salt and pepper. Allow the onions to cook for about 10 minutes, or until they are translucent and soft. Turn the heat down to medium-low and allow the onions to cook an additional 20 minutes; they should be lightly golden in color.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water until al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, add the cauliflower florets and ¼ cup of water to the onions. Cover and cook for 8 minutes, or until the cauliflower florets are tender. After 8 minutes, remove the lid and allow most of the water to evaporate off. Season with salt, pepper, and the red pepper flakes. Add in the lemon zest and juice. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water. Toss the pasta with the vegetable mixture, adding pasta water as needed. Mix in the feta and herbs.
In a small sauté pan, melt the butter and add the breadcrumbs and garlic, toast for 1-2 minutes and season with salt and pepper.
Serve the pasta sprinkled with the toasted garlic breadcrumbs and drizzled with olive oil.
Make Ahead Instructions:
- Prepare the recipe as written, but don’t sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Place the pasta into individual serving containers and refrigerate or freeze. If freezing, add some additional pasta water to keep it from drying out. The toasted breadcrumbs will keep for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container.
- When you’re ready to eat, you can microwave the pasta until it’s hot. Then, drizzle with olive oil and top with the breadcrumbs.