Crispy Cauliflower and Garlic Pasta

30m

1 head
cauliflower, rinsed and cut into florets
2 cups
dried strozzapreti
3 tbsp
olive oil divided, additional drizzle for pasta
6
cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp
red pepper flakes
1/2-1 tsp
salt, plus salt for boiling water
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water about half full to a boil.

  2. While waiting for the water to boil, cut the cauliflower into florets of roughly equal in size.

  3. Add pasta to the boiling water, stir, and quickly rest a colander over the top of the pot.

  4. Add the cauliflower florets, cover with the lid to the pot. This will not form a tight-fitting seal, but will be enough to help keep the steam in. The goal is to cook the pasta while steaming the cauliflower. Both will not be cooked through since they will be getting cooked again and we want crisp, al dente morsels.

  5. After four minutes, remove the cauliflower and rinse under cold water to stop cooking. Allow to dry by shaking off the excess water.

  6. Cook the pasta for one to two minutes longer, checking every minute or so to determine if the pasta is al dente.

  7. Remove from heat once the pasta is done, and strain separately from the cauliflower. Toss the pasta with a drizzle of oil to keep it from sticking.

  8. In a very large skillet (cast iron works very well here), heat half of the oil over medium heat, and add garlic and red pepper flakes. Sauté for 1-2 minutes, until the garlic is fragrant.

  9. Add cauliflower, let sit untouched for five minutes, until they brown.

  10. After five minutes, toss the cauliflower and top with the pasta and the remaining oil.

  11. Cook for another 3 minutes, then toss again to get the pasta toward the bottom of the pan. This will help it crisp up and create a dish that is both caramelized and crunchy--the key to what makes this dish so good. At this stage try to get the garlic up on top so that is does not get too browned.

  12. Toss again if necessary after a few minutes to crisp up as much pasta as possible, but do not cook too long to let anything burn, being especially mindful of the garlic. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

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