Saturday, May 19, 2012

Linguini with Roasted Cauliflower, Sausage and Tomato

The weather's been so beautiful here in the Pacific Northwest. This week we've spent a lot of time doing outdoorsy things, like bug hunting (with my youngest) and razor scooter riding (with my oldest). Plus, this week I crossed over the fence from being a long time power-walker to an official jogger. This kind of came out of nowhere, I never actually thought it would be something I'd do, but I was out on a walk the other day with my 1 year-old German Shepherd, Sansa, and she was driving me absolutely nuts pulling on her leash while we walked, so I decided to make her (and my hand) happy and I jogged for the last part of our walk. When I got home I found I felt so great, I decided to just go forward with it, so that's what I've been doing and it's working out beautifully. I gotta say I'm pretty proud of myself.

 We also filled the propane on our grill this week and TWICE we feasted on Ribeye steaks the size of our heads! I think we probably consumed our alotted amount of red meat for the next couple of months, but it was worth it because they were SO good... I think my decision to start working out more aggressively may have been a timely one...

I put this dinner together tonight after yet another bug hunting/razor scooter outing with my family. On an unrelated note, we caught a shrew today. I saw it and my husband caught it in a box. Sometimes we'll find little critters at the park and bring them home long enough to learn a little about them then return them to their homes. We read that shrews can consume up to 125% percent of their body weight each day.  He's a cute little guy, and a ruthless bug killer.

Linguini with Roasted Cauliflower, Sausage and Tomato
~serves 3-4~

Note* If you are short on time, you could skip the homemade breadcrumbs and just serve the pasta with additional parmesan cheese.

1 small or 1/2 of  a large head of cauliflower, broken apart into small bite-sized pieces
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 lb linguini (I used 51% whole wheat liguini here)
2 slices of hearty white bread, torn into pieces
3/4 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese, divided
3 links of italian sausage (hot or mild is fine, I used mild here), casings removed
3 garlic cloves, minced
14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
1 c. low-sodium chicken broth
2 T. lemon juice 
2 T. minced fresh parsley

1. Roast the cauliflower: Adjust oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place cauliflower on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast, stirring every 10 minutes, until cauliflower is browned and tender, 25-30 minutes. Remove beaking sheet from oven and set aside.

2. Make parmesan breadcrumbs. In a food processor, pulse bread to make evenly sized breadcrumbs. Heat 2 T. olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat until the oil shimmers. Add breadcrumbs and cook, stirring almost constantly until the breadcrumbs are crisp and browned, about 3 minutes. Remove to a plate to cool, after they have cooled for 5 minutes, stir in 1/4 of the parmesan cheese. Set aside.

3. Meanwhile, make the pasta. Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot or dutch oven. When boiling, add pasta and 2 1/2 t. salt. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain, reserving 1/2 c. pasta cooking water. Return the pasta to the pot and set aside while finishing the recipe.

4. After removing the breadcrumbs from the skillet, add the sausage and cook, over medium-high heat until the sausage is browned and cooked through, about 5-7 minutes. Remove the sausage to a paper towel-lined plate. Pour the fat from the skillet and wipe out the skillet lightly with paper towels.

5. Return the skillet to the medium heat, add 1 T. olive oil. When the oil is shimmering, add garlic and saute for about 1 minute, until garlic is just beginning to brown. Add drained tomatoes, chicken broth and 1/4 t. salt. Bring to a simmer and cook until reduced slightly, about 2-3 minutes. 

6. To the pasta in the pot add cauliflower, sausage, tomato mixture, remaining 1/2 c. parmesan cheese, lemon juice and parsley. Place the pasta pot over medium heat and stir until mixed together and heated through, adding the reserved pasta cooking water if needed, to loosen the consistency. 

7. Divide pasta among individual bowl and serve, sprinkling with the parmesan breadcrumbs.


  1. that looks superb! rich and light at the same time...the perfect combo : ) i have never thought of putting cauliflower in pasta before! must try this!!

    1. Thank you, and yes, it is all those things. Hearty, but not too heavy.

  2. I never would have thought of roasting cauliflower and adding it to pasta! This looks wonderful.

  3. This looks amazingly fresh, and delicious! Will have to try it out.

  4. This is the second time I've seen cauliflower with pasta this week, but yours wins with that addition of sausage. And very nice photos.

  5. This looks amazing, Crystal!

    Also, I had to google what a shrew is! LOL!

  6. Pasta looks absolutely gorgeous, I've never had cauliflower in it but it sounds like a really great idea. It's so nice you started jogging! I had a similar moment a while ago - one day I just "felt" like it and it felt fantastic afterwards, so it became a (somewhat) regular activity.

  7. This looks amazing! I'm pinning it now! :)

  8. what a great pasta dish! beautiful combination of flavors! i need to try this!