Cauliflower is the new ? Help me complete that sentence would you? 🙂 Start out with a blank canvas and the sky’s the limit on the variety of dishes you can cook with cauliflower. I’ve riced cauliflower, made a pizza base, curried it, steamed it, made many vegetarian dishes with it, but had never cooked it with pasta. Of course it defeats the purpose of adding pasta to a low-carb dish, but believe me on this one, it was absolutely amazing, probably a ton of calories in it too, but hey, one’s allowed to stray off the path sometimes eh?
One of its high nutritional aspects is the elevated daily value of vitamin C it produces in one sitting. It’s also a good source of vitamin K, magnesium and fibre to name a few. I liked roasting the cauliflower and carrots on high heat in the oven before adding it to the dish. It gives it a nice caramelized finish. You can use any kind of cheese instead of fontina mentioned in the recipe. I had a sharp cheddar, but I’m sure fontina would take it up to a whole new level.
Roasted Cauliflower and Carrot Ziti
- 2 large cauliflower heads, cut into florets
- 3 large carrots, cleaned
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
- 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1 lb ziti pasta
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 3 cups milk, heated
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 8 oz. fontina cheese, shredded
- chopped parsley
- To make the roasted cauliflower, heat oven to 425 deg F. Toss cauliflower florets and sliced carrots on a large baking sheet with 1/4 cup olive oil. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast, tossing occasionally, until florets are caramelized and tender about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
- Melt 4 tablespoons butter. In a large bowl, toss bread crumbs with melted butter and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese. Set aside.
- Heat oven to 350 deg F. Cook pasta according to package and set aside.
- In a large oven proof dish over low heat, melt remaining butter. Add the flour and whisk until a smooth paste forms, about 5 minutes. Slowly whisk in the hot milk, stirring continuously until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Stir in the salt, garlic powder, onion, powder, nutmeg, Italian seasoning and smoked paprika. Add the fontina and stir until melted, about 3 minutes. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese. Add cooked pasta and roasted vegetables. Stir to combine.
- Remove pan from stovetop. Sprinkle bread crumb mixture on top. Transfer pan to the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted and top is slightly golden. Sprinkle chopped parsley.