Orecchiette con Cavolofiore e Asparagi- Orecchiette with Cauliflower and Asparagus

by cakeduchess on September 10, 2011 · 20 comments

Orecchiette con Cavolofiore e Asparagi- Orecchiette with Cauliflower and Asparagus
Is it possible to live on pasta alone? Could there be a more perfect meal choice? Rich and smothered in Italian cheeses or a lighter version made with fresh seasonal vegetables; pasta is my favorite dinner choice.

Yes, we sometimes have pasta every day of the week!   We aren’t vegetarian, but I try to cook creative, healthy, meat-free pasta dishes as often as possible. I can my own tomatoes and we do eat them until we run out. Most evenings I open the refrigerator and check out what fresh veggies I happen to have.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE macaroni and cheese. I ADORE lasagne. But I save those dishes for once in a while. Sometimes a simple and delicate pasta dish is all I crave.
This cauliflower pasta dish is similar to one my mother-in-law Teresa makes. She is the guru of economic and healthy pasta dishes. She was successful in getting my kids to eat cauliflower by cleverly mixing it with pasta. Cauliflower happened to not be one of their favorite vegetables. Probably because I rarely cook with them. Since I learned her pasta recipe, that has changed. It’s now one of my favorite healthy pasta dishes.
I’ve been trying to remember tips I learned from Andrew Scrivani at IFBC. Andrew Scrivani talked to us about the beauty and appeal of steam in photos. It’s just not happening. I’ve almost burned myself every time. I think I need to leave the steamy photos to Andrew for now and will stay burn free.Winking smile
We had seconds of this pasta dish. It was THAT good.
orecchiette-con-cavolofiore-e-asparagi-orecchiette-with-cauliflower-and-asparagus-2

Pasta con Cavolofiore e Asparagi- Orecchiette with Cauliflower and Asparagus
1 head cauliflower, cored, cut into florets
1 cup of asparagus, diced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra as needed
1 small onion, diced
1 pound orecchiette pasta
a handful of Italian parsley, chopped
Parmigiano Reggiano
salt and pepper to taste


In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring 6-quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons of salt. When the water comes to a boil, cook pasta to al dente according to package directions.

Divide the cauliflower into florets. Bring a medium sauce pan filled with a little bit of water to a boil. Add the cauliflower on top of your steamer and let the cauliflower simmer covered. Steam the cauliflower for about 10 minutes.

While the cauliflower is steaming, sauté’ the onion and asparagus. The asparagus should be al dente.  Remove the cauliflower from the steamer and pulse a few times in a food processor.
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You could also mash the cauliflower with a potato masher. Add the asparagus mixture and mix together.  
Drain the pasta and add to the cauliflower mixture. If needed, add a little more extra-virgin olive oil, add the chopped parsley and Parmigiano Reggiano. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately. 
Hope you have a FABULOUS weekend! I’ve been sort of MIA recently. Back to school has been keeping me swamped and with little time to visit my blogging friends. I do miss seeing what you all have been up to. Luca has had some sleep issues and it’s like having a newborn again. I’m seriously sleep-deprived and trying to not be cranky. Tonight I’m hoping for a full night’s sleep. Keep your fingers crossed for us!Smile

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Ethan September 10, 2011 at 3:19 am

I will eat pasta for breakfast, lunch and dinner, so we’re on the same page :)
This looks great but don’t burn yourself with steam, especially when you’re sleep-deprived!

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foodwanderings September 10, 2011 at 3:24 am

Miss Lora this pasta looks delicious. I particularly like the oriechette shape. So brilliant pairing the cauliflower with it I never did to pair the two now I will look at pasta more creatively:).

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The Vanilla Bean Baker September 10, 2011 at 3:31 pm

I think my husband would live on pasta, providing there was a bit of medium rare steak thrown in every once in awhile, that or chicken…or fish..or :)

P.S. Had to delete previous comment as I neglected to type in the word *live*

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Carolyn September 11, 2011 at 1:31 pm

Looks wonderful, Lora. I do miss pasta!

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Sandra September 11, 2011 at 5:23 pm

I would love this for my lunch today Lora…looks absolutely delicious! And yes I think that I could leave on pasta alone if I could:))) Thanks for sharing and have a fantastic Sunday with your family!

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Stephanie September 11, 2011 at 5:37 pm

This pasta looks so yummy! I really like your use of cauliflower here with the pasta!

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Yesim September 11, 2011 at 6:56 pm

such a yummy and healthy dish..

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Happy When Not Hungry September 12, 2011 at 12:51 am

What a beautiful pasta dish! Love the flavor combo.

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Lindsay @Eat, Knit, Grow September 12, 2011 at 1:25 pm

Yum! That looks so delicious! I have to try this!!

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thetravellingchopsticks September 12, 2011 at 4:33 pm

What a great dish – thank you so much for sharing, I would have never have thought to put cauliflower with pasta, but this looks so inviting! And as luck would have it i have both cauliflower and asparagus at home – guess what we are having for dinner tonight :)

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Hester aka The Chef Doc September 12, 2011 at 5:59 pm

Oh, this looks delicious! I never would have thought to put cauliflower in. Thank you for sharing this with us :-) Have a lovely week!

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Lizzy September 12, 2011 at 8:18 pm

Oh, this looks marvelous! Orecchiette is my favorite shape of pasta! I can’t even imagine trying to keep up with a blog with young children…I admire you for what you get done! Hope Luca is sleeping better now that school’s been in session for a week~xo

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Jamie September 12, 2011 at 9:20 pm

We came to appreciate pasta meals so much more when living in Italy – it is an art form in that country. They do make such wonderful and healthy meals and case in point is this one with cauliflower. Yum! And yeah, I’ll be trying to photograph food like Andrew told us to. When I get home. We’ll see.

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Magic of Spice September 13, 2011 at 12:45 am

Looks like a lovely healthy pasta dish! Wishing you many good nights of sleep and some catch up you time :)

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Lo-mo September 13, 2011 at 1:52 am

This looks wonderful Lora! I have been looking for quick and easy pasta dishes for the fall as the Boy has started quite the intense fall baseball schedule! I will be giving this one a try!

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kita September 14, 2011 at 1:56 am

If I left it up to Handsome – we would only have pasta – mountains mountains and mountains of pasta! lol. This meal looks amazing. We have recently been in love with cauliflower too so its a win win!

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A Thought For Food September 14, 2011 at 12:15 pm

You’re right… I would totally go bonkers over this recipe! Looks wonderful!

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Courtney September 24, 2011 at 10:11 pm

This sounds so good! We also love pasta dishes – can’t wait to try this! Bookmarked :)

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Foodafok September 26, 2011 at 6:59 pm

Smart recipe. I love it.

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Give me money January 29, 2012 at 12:09 pm

good recipe

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