Rigatoni and Cauliflower al Forno

Over the holidays, the NY times proved to have some pretty amazing recipes. While not all of them were the healthiest options, this was fine with me as it was over thanksgiving and Christmas. However, now that most of us are back to our healthy routines (or trying for that matter), there were a few recipes that I held onto for the new year. One of them in particular was this cauliflower-rigatoni duo. Yeah, I thought the combination sounded weird at first too, but trust me when I say it definitely isn’t!

I am going to go through how I put together this dish and any modifications I made. At the bottom of the post though, there is a link to the recipe which will give specific measurements and cooking instructions.

For starters, instead of rigatoni, I opted to use whole wheat penne pasta (1/2 pound though). Also, the recipe calls for either fontina or mozzarella cheese. Instead, I ended up using manchengo. I mean, at the end of the day, it’s cheese and which ever type you choose will taste great! Otherwise, the rest of the ingredients are the same as the original recipe.

Necessary Ingredients!

You can go ahead and boil the pasta (to al dente) while prepping the cauliflower (at the end, everything will go together in a casserole dish and bake in the oven). While this was boiling, I sliced up the cauliflower thinly and then sautéed it in a large pan. It works best to sauté the cauliflower in two parts, since you want it spread evenly across the pan (see picture below). Once both portions of cauliflower are sautéed, I put them back in the pan and added all the spices. I then just let this cook on low for a few minutes.

1st portion of cauliflower


Both portions of cauliflower mixed with added seasoning
Both portions of cauliflower mixed with added seasoning

Now you are ready to mix everything together.  Combine the cheese (fontina or mozzarella, or whatever cheese you desire), cauliflower and pasta into a large casserole dish and mix it together. Then, sprinkle the Romano cheese over the top followed by the breadcrumbs (for breadcrumbs I used panko instead). And last but not least, drizzle olive oil on top and pop it in the oven!

Rigatoni and Cauliflower al Forno
Rigatoni and Cauliflower al Forno

I ended up pairing it with a side salad, which I felt went well with it. As promised, here is the direct link to the full recipe http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1016841-rigatoni-and-cauliflower-al-forno

Hope you love it as much as I do!

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