This dish is delicious; it's layered with several different flavors, none of which are too overpowering. Serve with a salad, and TA-DA, you've got a pretty impressive dinner.
And, one more bonus, it can be made ahead and then just thrown in the oven. I love that.
CRUSTY BAKED SHELLS & CAULIFLOWER
- Kosher salt
- black pepper
- 3/4 pound medium shells, such as Barilla
- olive oil
- 2 1/2 pounds cauliflower, cut into small florets (1 large head)
- 3 tablespoons fresh sage leaves, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons capers, drained
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 cups Fontina cheese, grated and lightly packed (10 ounces with rind)
- 1 cup (8 ounces) fresh ricotta
- 1/2 cup panko
- 6 tablespoons freshly grated Pecorino cheese
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, minced
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Fill a large pot with water, add 2 tablespoons of salt, and bring to a boil.
Add pasta and cook until al dente, according to the instructions on the package.
NOTE: Pasta will be cooked later, be careful to not overcook it!
Drain pasta and pour into a large bowl.
Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat, add half of the cauliflower in one layer and saute for 5-6 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the florets are lightly browned and tender.
Pour the cauliflower, including the small bits, into the bowl with the pasta.
Add 3 more tablespoons of olive oil and cook remaining cauliflower in the same manner and then add to the bowl.
Add the sage, capers, garlic, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon black pepper to the bowl and stir carefully.
Stir in the Fontina.
Transfer half of the mixture to a 10 x 13 baking dish.
Spoon rounded tablespoons of ricotta on the pasta and top with remaining pasta mixture.
Combine panko, Pecorino, parsley, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly on top of pasta.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until browned and crusty on top.
Source: Ina Garten