Pasta Shells with Cauliflower


I find it quite humorous that of all vegetables cauliflower has made news in the past few weeks. I would venture to say that it isn’t everyone’s favourite vegetable yet its recent exorbitant price has made it the talk of the town.

I can’t say cauliflower is a regular on my grocery list but a good sale will inspire its inclusion in the week’s menu. The very thought that it could be purchased at one quarter the price it was going for a couple of weeks ago was great incentive as well.

When a head of cauliflower the size of a grapefruit is selling for eight dollars and fifty cents it’s definitely not the week to include it into dinner plans but this week’s advertised price of less than two dollars was enough inspiration to enjoy Pasta Shells and Cauliflower once again.

While growing up, my mother used to make this for us, no doubt something her mother made for her.  Next to peas this was my second least favourite dish but the passing years seem to have refined my pallet leaving me with a true appreciation for the taste and texture of this dish .

A simple combination of crisp, golden garlic, aromatic extra virgin olive oil and plenty of grated cheese dress this otherwise bland pasta and cauliflower combination to delicious new heights!

Pasta Shells with Cauliflower

This is not a recipe with exact measurements and when I make it it’s usually by eye. The cauliflower should be in bite size pieces and less than the ratio of pasta.
The garlic should be a deep golden colour but not burnt otherwise it will have an unpleasant bitter taste.
I’ve attempted to put together a recipe which will make approximately 2 generous servings.

4 cups of uncooked medium pasta shells
about a half head medium size cauliflower
about 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves of garlic
about ¾ cup grated parmiggiano or favourite cheese

  1. Break cauliflower into small florets and boil until fork tender in salted water. Drain and set aside.  Cauliflower can also be steamed.
  2. Cook pasta shells in salted water until al dente, drain but don’t shake dry leaving a little moisture in the shells.
  3. Return pasta to the pot and add the cooked cauliflower.
  4. Heat olive oil in a small pan until hot then add finely minced or pressed garlic. Cook until crisp and golden but not burnt. (if it becomes burnt start over again, burnt garlic tastes very bitter)
  5. Add grated cheese and oil garlic mixture, toss until well coated.
  6. Cheese will melt right into the pasta and cauliflower, serve with extra cheese if desired.









Notes, Tips and Suggestions

  • The cauliflower makes a great side dish without the pasta.
  • Spice it up with some red pepper flakes.
  • What to do with remaining half of the cauliflower?  Try…








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