Mark Bittman's Pasta With Cauliflower

Total Time
Prep 15 mins
Cook 10 mins

A quick and simple recipe printed in "The New York Times" (Feb. 6, 2009). "There are many possible variations. For the cauliflower, you can substitute broccoli, rape or even kale or collards. When you're simmering the garlic, you can add anchovies, capers, pine nuts or dried red pepper flakes -- some or all of them. You can toss crumbled cooked sausage meat or chopped shrimp into the garlic mixture along with the bread crumbs. Or you can garnish with chopped parsley, basil or grated Parmesan."

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 1 head cauliflower, about 1 pound
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 14 cup olive oil
  • 1 lb penne, fusilli or 1 lb other cut pasta
  • 1 cup coarse breadcrumbs


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Trim the cauliflower, and divide it into florets. Add about a tablespoon of salt to the water, and boil the cauliflower in it until it is tender but not mushy. Using a slotted spoon or strainer, remove the cauliflower and set it aside. When it is cool enough to handle, chop it roughly into small pieces.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large deep skillet over medium-low heat, saute garlic in olive oil, stirring occasionally, until garlic is golden. Start cooking pasta in same pot and same water as was used for the cauliflower.
  3. When the garlic is ready, add the cauliflower and bread crumbs to skillet, and turn heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally. When pasta is just about done -- it should be two or three minutes short of the way you like it -- drain it, reserving about a cup of cooking liquid.
  4. Add pasta to skillet containing the cauliflower, and toss with a large spoon until they are well combined. Add salt and pepper to taste, along with just enough pasta water to keep the mixture moist but not soupy. When the mixture is hot and the pasta is tender and nicely glazed, serve.
Most Helpful

Yum! I added a shake of crushed red pepper and some parmesan, as recommended. It was delicious!

laurajewell July 15, 2010

All the kids had 3 or 4 servings! I couldn't believe it! I boiled the cauliflower for 5 minutes and it was perfect. We added salt and Parmesan cheese when it was done, which was good, but still felt it needed something else. Next time I will add some chicken.

rainbow.rubatino March 12, 2009