orecchiette with roasted cauliflower, sausage, chickpeas & fresh ricotta

This week’s Food Matters Project recipe comes to us from Gracie at Food Fascination.  It was supposed to be Whole Cauliflower with Sausage, but we quickly realized the recipe meant a whole head of steamed cauliflower & unless it’s some kind of pea or edamame, I think there’s more flavorful ways of going about your veggies.

So we chopped up the cauliflower & roasted it, taking the best parts from the original recipe & combining them with this one, creating this dish & love at first bite.

serves 4

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
8oz orecchiette or other shell shaped pasta
8oz sweet or hot sausage, or a combination of the two, casings removed
1 medium onion, chopped
1-2 jalapeños, seeded & minced
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup chickpeas (if using canned, drain & rinse)
1 cup fresh ricotta, for serving
extra virgin olive oil, for serving

Preheat oven to 450°.  Line a baking sheet with foil.  Arrange the cauliflower florets in a single layer on the baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil & sprinkle salt & freshly ground pepper over top.  Toss to coat evenly.  Roast for 25-35 minutes, until golden brown.

While the cauliflower roasts, bring a large pot of water to a boil & salt well.  Add the pasta & cook to al dente, according to package instructions.  Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of cooking liquid & set aside.

Also while the cauliflower roasts, heat a large skillet with a drizzle of olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the sausage & cook until no longer pink, crumbling the larger pieces with a wooden spoon.  If there’s a lot of oil (we didn’t have much), pour off all but 2 tablespoons.  If there’s less than that, add a little olive oil.  Add the onion & jalapeños to the skillet & cook until softened, sprinkling with a little salt & pepper, about 3-5 minutes.  Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon.

Add the breadcrumbs & parsley to that same pan & cook until the breadcrumbs have nicely browned.  Remove from the pan & set aside.

Once the cauliflower is finished, toss it into the pasta pot with the cooked pasta, a little bit of the starchy cooking liquid & a bit of olive oil.  Stir until everything’s loosened up & slightly creamy.  Add the sausage back into the pan with the chickpeas & stir until combined, adding more cooking liquid if necessary.  Check for seasoning.  Serve with the breadcrumb mixture sprinkled over top, a dollop of fresh ricotta & drizzle of olive oil.

adapted from Dinner Tonight, Serious Eats & The Food Matters Cookbook

Thanks for hosting this week, Gracie!  To see the original recipe, click “The Food Matters Cookbook” link above.  To see dozens of other mouthwatering variations of this week’s choice, be sure to head over to The Food Matters Project.

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One Response to orecchiette with roasted cauliflower, sausage, chickpeas & fresh ricotta

  1. Gracie says:

    Your version sounds so good. I agree the recipe needed just a little “more”. Great additions.

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