I made this recipe for the first time a few months ago and it instantly became my new favorite one-bowl dinner. I've made it for friends and also a few times for a weeknight dinner for two. Also, its pretty rare that I gush about a vegetarian meal, so you know this one
1 large head cauliflower, chopped into 1 1/2 in florets
6 cloves of garlic, skin on
red pepper flakes
1/4 cup bread crumbs (homemade or store-bought)
1 cup grated parmesan
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
16 oz short pasta (preferably one with curves or holes in it for the good stuff to get stuck in)*
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Toss together the cauliflower florets with the garlic cloves, olive oil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (1/4-1/2 teaspoon) and spread on a large cookie sheet. Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the cauliflower gets nice and brown and caramelized, tossing once or twice while it cooks.
In a medium bowl, combine the butter, parmesan, bread crumbs, and pine nuts and set aside.
Meanwhile, boil salted water and cook the pasta al dente, trying to time it so that the pasta finishes around the same time as the cauliflower. Drain the pasta and reserve about 1/2 cup of cooking liquid. Take the roasted garlic cloves from the cauliflower pan and squeeze the garlic flesh out of each clove, discard the skin and place in the bottom of the now empty pasta pot. Pour a little of the pasta water in and using a spoon/whisk/spatula mix the garlic water together so it distributes a bit. Pour the cooked pasta back in the pot, add the roasted cauliflower, and the butter/parmesan/bread crumb/pine nut mix. Stir well to incorporate all the ingredients, adding extra pasta water if it looks too dry. Sprinkle in the parsley, serve and enjoy!
* Sometimes I make this with less pasta (10-12 oz) or sometimes add a bit more cauliflower. I like it with a LOT of cauliflower, which cooks down significantly as it roasts.