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What do you get when you cross a dog with a rose?

Or my son's five year old version, "What do you get when a dog crosses the street... (pause, because he knows he's getting the joke mixed up somewhere...) with a rose in it's mouth?"

A collie flower.

This is the joke I've heard a gazillion times because it is printed on the side of the juice boxes from Trader Joe's. For some reason, that makes it the funniest joke in the world I guess, to receive that kind of honorable placement.

I know, it's not a funny joke. But it IS a good way to introduce this really yummy dinner that uses cauliflower! (did you see that cheesiness coming??)  

I've never appreciated or known how to prepare that mysterious, white broccoli-ish product known as the cauliflower. Raw cauliflower on the salad buffet - my primary exposure - is so gross to me. But this recipe has totally won my heart! And my tummy. And the tummies of those in my family.

You have to try it one night, because not only is it quick and healthy, my kids totally liked it and they didn't even know they were eating cauliflower. The magic is in the roasting. While the veggies roast, they assume a very nutty, carmelized, wintery flavor that is like nothing else. MMMMM. Here it is.

{borrowed from Everyday Food magazine. I have no idea what issue, because I ripped it out and put the page in my recipe book long ago.}  

pasta with roasted cauliflower, parsley & breadcrumbs

1. I preheat my oven to 475* while I core and break up into small florets a whole head of cauliflower. Also, I'm getting my pasta water ready on the stove.

2. Toss my cauliflower florets with 1 medium sliced up onion and 5 cloves of garlic, also sliced up. Oh, and 2 T of oil, salt & pepper. Spread it out onto a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet and roast on LOWER rack for about 20 minutes, or until browned and tender. I toss it all once somewhere in that time.

3. Meanwhile, I pulse 4 slices of white bread in a food processor with a little oil to make breadcrumbs, then bake them on the upper rack until golden brown, about 5 minutes. (OR I just buy them.)

4.  Then I boil 12 oz. of some kind of shortish pasta - I used gemelli (the twisty kind), the recipe calls for cavatappi (the corkscrew kind), but really, who cares which kind of pasta you use, right?

5. Here are the most important ingredients. Parsley and good quality parmesan. You need 1/4 C of each.

I always try to have the real deal - parmigiano reggiano (parmesan from the actual Parma region of Italy) on hand - and not be stopped by how expensive it is compared to the gross kind that is only $3. The real kind makes such a difference, a little goes a long way, and the wedge lasts forever. And I can justify the cost because think about how CHEAP all the rest of these ingredients are. Even with my $9.00 block of good cheese, the dinner was under $15 for our family of four. And then my husband and I had generous portions for lunch the next day too. Six meals for $15. Can't beat that. Buy the cheese.

Then I grate about 1/4 C of it with another of my favorite cooking friends. I could sing a song about this friend, if I sang. My MICROPLANE! I have it in two sizes. Really fine and not-so-fine; those are my technical names for them. The one in the bottom picture is the not-so-fine. My finer one is more for zesting citrus and ginger. This one is perfecto for making delicate shavings of hard cheeses or chocolate or carrot...stuff like that.  

So you're done, except for the beautiful mixing!  When I strain the pasta, I reserve about 1/4 C of the water in the pot. Then mix in the vegetables and the parsley.

Top each bowl with a sprinkle of the breadcrumbs and a generous heap of cheese.

My little dude wanted his own side dish of breadcrumbs and basically covered his pasta with crunchiness. That was his favorite part.

I had seconds. I love love love it. Hope you do too!


  1. I know you totally hate this idea but you really could add golden raisins and pine nuts to this. Or to gross you out more,I think there is an Italian version of this dish that includes anchovies. I think it just makes it saltier, but once I know there is anchovies in something that is all I can taste. Finally, you are totally right about the cheese. P.S. How have I bought a jillion juice boxes from TJs and never read them?

  2. This looks so good, I am going to have to bookmark this. YUM

  3. Oh we're in love with the cauliflower here! It makes the cheapest, most velvety delicious, warming soup.

    Saute 1 chopped onion and some garlic in a soup pot
    Add 1 head of cauliflower chopped and 2 chopped potatoes.
    Cover with broth or water, whatever you got, until everything's soft and mush.
    Blend until smooth. Add whatever herbs you got on hand (I had 1/4 c chopped fresh parsley) and maybe the same amount of cheese (cheddar, parma, whatev) or half and half - something to make it creamy. EAT!


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