Baked Crusted Pasta Shells and Cauliflower
Recipe Type: Main
  • • Kosher salt
  • • Freshly ground black pepper
  • • ¾ pound medium pasta shells
  • • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • • 2½ pounds cauliflower, cut into small florets (1 large head)
  • • 3 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh sage leaves (I substituted 2 tablespoons rubbed sage)
  • • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • • ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • • 2 cups freshly grated Italian Fontina Val d'Aosta cheese (10 ounces with rind)... see NOTE above
  • • 1 cup (8 ounces) fresh ricotta
  • • ½ cup panko (Japanese bread flakes)
  • • 6 tablespoons freshly grated Italian Pecorino cheese
  • • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
  1. Preheat oven to 400?F.
  2. Fill a large pot with water, add 1 tablespoon of salt and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, according to the instructions on package. Drain and pour into a very large bowl.
  3. Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large (12-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat, add half of the cauliflower in one layer and sauté for 5 to 6 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the florets are lightly browned and tender. Pour the cauliflower into the bowl with the pasta. Add 3 additional tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and add the remaining cauliflower. Cook until browned and tender; add to the bowl.
  4. Add the sage, capers, garlic, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper to the bowl; stir gently to combine. Stir in the Fontina. Transfer half of the mixture to a 10 x 13 x 2-inch baking dish. Spoon rounded tablespoons of ricotta on the pasta and spoon the remaining pasta mixture on top. Combine the panko, Pecorino, parsley and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small bowl and sprinkle it evenly on top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until browned and crusty on top. Serve hot.
Recipe by Honest Cooking at