Roasted Cauliflower Pasta with Bagna Cuda

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Roasted Cauliflower Pasta, Healthy Pasta, Roasted Cauliflower, Bagna Cuda So, it’s March and were having a “blizzard” here in the DC area (that’s like 6″ in mid-east coast language).  Just when I was thinking about all the foodie goodies at our Spring farmer’s market.  Guess not.  As you would expect, this area can’t really handle snow, let alone a “blizzard.” So I have the day off from my internship – woo hoo!  Contrary to what my family might think, I was actually really productive today and rewarded myself by spending the afternoon under a warm blanket with my sweet fat dog curled up beside me as we both watched Food Network.  Good times.  Right as I was about to fall asleep – mid afternoon naps are a must on days like this – Anne Burrell started talking about cauliflower on her show.  Groan!
Roasted cauliflower, roasted cauliflower pasta, healthy pasta

Not that  I don’t love cauliflower, because I do, in fact I love it.  But I have this awesome cauliflower recipe I need to write down and blog about.  Ugh!  I know, I’m supposed to be excited about blogging.  But not when hot tea, a warm blanket and afternoon spent watching food TV is calling!  But, I can’t go much longer or else I’ll forget all the ingredients and then where would I be?  Not blogging about it, that’s for sure.
toasted pine nuts, bagna cuda, roasted cauliflower pasta

This recipe came out of a need to cook up a head of cauliflower and transform it into something magical, because I literally had no other food in my house.  No lettuce, no tomatoes, no other veggies…nothing.  What I did have, and what truly saved me, was an awesomely stocked pantry.  Which if you’re not into stocking your pantry, you really should, because it can totally save dinner in a pinch!
roasted cauliflower, pasta, roasted cauliflower pasta

As I progressed with this recipe, the more I got excited.  I pulled ideas from everywhere – other blogs, magazines and a deep love and somewhat obsession with roasted cauliflower.  What was born?  My roasted cauliflower pasta with a bagna cuda sauce!  Whew – a mouthful.  But a delicious one, I promise.  Bagna cuda is an Italian butter and olive oil sauce with mostly raw garlic and anchovies.  That might sound scary to some people, but it tastes like a salty, buttery, garlicky happy, happy sauce!  I saw a great recipe on the Amateur Gourmet blog and as he puts it – it’s the sauce of your dreams!  And believe me… it so is.

I tossed big fat rigatoni with the roasted cauliflower, sliced kalamatas, and white beans with the bagna cuda sauce.  I thought I was done there, but it needed something – a crunch maybe?  So I toasted up some pignolis – THE Italian nut – and mixed those with panko bread crumbs that I toasted in some olive oil.  That sprinkled on top with some fresh parsley and grated parm – delicious!  Like really delicious.  Dario and I barely spoke the entire time we ate dinner.  Which if you know me, is very difficult for me – the whole no talking thing.  But I was in silent awe of this dish.  It’s a definite keeper and I strongly urge you, almost beg you…to make this dish.  You won’t be disappointed!

Roasted Cauliflower Pasta with Bagna Cuda:

  • Bagna Cuda Sauce – click here to see the recipe from Amateur Gourmet.  Note, I added 1 tsp red pepper flakes to the sauce for a little kick!
  • 1/2 pound rigatoni pasta
  • 1 medium head cauliflower cut into bite sized florets
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 tsp salt and pepper
  • 1/2 kalamata olives, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 can great northern beans, drained
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley or basil
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup toasted pignoli nuts (pine nuts)


  1. Preheat oven to 450F.
  2. Spread cauliflower florets into a baking pan or sheet pan and drizzle with 2 tbsp of olive oil, 1 tsp salt and pepper.  Mix together and thoroughly coat each floret.  Roast cauliflower for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown.  Set aside.
  3. Whip up a batch of the delicious bagna cuda sauce following the directions from Amateur Gourmet.  Add in the red pepper flakes if you like a little extra kick.  Make this is a really big pan, because you’ll be adding the cooked pasta and other ingredients to this pan to finish cooking.
  4. Mean while, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Cook pasta according to package directions.
  5. In a small saute pan, toast the pignolis/pine nuts until golden brown.  Don’t walk away, because this happens quickly and you don’t want these to burn.  Remove from pan and set aside.
  6. In the same small pan, add in the remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil and panko bread crumbs.  Stir to make sure all the bread crumbs are evenly coated with the oil.  Keep stirring and eventually all the crumbs will be coated.  Saute until a nice golden brown.  Mix with the pine nuts and set aside.
  7. In the large pan with the bagna cuda sauce, mix in the cooked rigatoni, kalamata olives, white beans and fresh parsley.  Serve in a large serving bowl or individual plates.  Top with a generous sprinkling of the bread crumb pine nut mixture followed by a touch of grated parmesan cheese.  Serve immediately.

You tell me!  What’s your favorite pantry staple?  What’s your favorite pasta sauce?  Have you ever tried bagna cuda sauce before?


  1. Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies

    March 13, 2013 at 11:08 am

    This is pretty much my perfect meal, I think. Roasted cauliflower? Kalamata olives? Cheese? Yes!

    • mewinebrenner

      March 13, 2013 at 5:43 pm

      I know – its got a lot of my favorites too! It’s so yummy and filling. Definitely will be made again in this house!

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