Penne With Roasted Cauliflower and Olives

My husband was out of town for about a week (during two separate trips) a week or so ago.  My mom decided to come into town to keep me and the Pantster company while he was gone.  Grandma will take any opportunity to come spoil her only granddaughter (oh and her only daughter too 🙂 )!  I know that my mom is one of my most faithful blog readers, but she hasn’t gotten many opportunities to experience my new found love of cooking.  I decided to reward her for her comments on FB and the encouraging text messages by cooking dinner for her on each of the three evenings that she was in town!  I made this dish the first night she was in town, and she started reminiscing about eating vegetables when she was a little girl.  My grandparents had a very prolific garden that produced vegetables nearly year-round (in Northern California).  My mom told me, however, that roasting veggies was just not done back then.  They were mostly boiled but sometimes fried (in the case of squash and sometimes cauliflower).  I cannot even imagine!  I NEVER boil veggies…mostly because it just feels inconvenient to have to deal with hot water when it’s all done!  I certainly could not imagine boiling or frying cauliflower because it just feels like it was made to be roasted!

I first came across the recipe that follows because Jake picked up a cauliflower in the grocery store one afternoon and told me that he wanted cauliflower for dinner that night.  Um…OK?  When I asked him what he wanted with his cauliflower, since cauliflower does not an entire dinner make, he gave me nothing.  I told him we would roast it, and he said he wanted it boiled.  I told him that it was good to want things.  When we got home I looked online for some inspiration, and I found it easily!  Roasted cauliflower with penne pasta seemed like a natural match to me!  What struck me about the recipe from which I drew inspiration, was the inclusion of big, salty, green olives!  YUM!!  The original calls for two tablespoons of butter in addition to the olive oil…really?  I cannot believe that anyone would find that necessary!  Use a little less fat, have another glass of wine or two, and ENJOY!

Penne with Roasted Cauliflower and Olives

Adapted from


*2 tablespoons olive oil

*1 (1 1/2-pound) head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets

*1/3 cup (or so) of good olives, halved or sliced (I got big green ones stuffed with slivers of garlic from the olive bar)

*Salt to taste

*1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

*5 garlic cloves, crushed

*7 ounces uncooked penne (or other tube-shaped pasta)

*Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

To Make:

*Place a small heavy roasting pan in oven. Preheat oven to 450°.

*Remove preheated pan from oven and add oil, making sure to thoroughly coat the cooking surface.

*Add cauliflower to pan and toss to coat with oil.

*Bake at 450° for 10 minutes.

*Add olives, garlic, pepper flakes, and salt (don’t forget to consider the saltiness of the olives when deciding how much salt to use) to pan and toss to combine.

*Bake until cauliflower is tender and turning golden (approximately 7-11 minutes).

*Cook pasta until is is barely al dente.

*Reserve approximately 1/2 cup of the pasta water.

*Return pasta to pan over medium-high heat, add pasta water and cauliflower mixture and toss.

*Cook 2 minutes or until pasta is al dente, stirring occasionally.

*Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese!

Survey Says:

This is incredible!  There is something about roasting cauliflower that brings out all of its best qualities!  When it is allowed to caramelize, it becomes crunchy, slightly sweet, and irresistible!  This was not only a big hit with my mom (and me of course) but Miss Pants ate her fair share!


10 responses to this post.

  1. Oh my gosh this looks amazing! I just got home from TJ’s and now I want to go back and get some cauliflower. I want this tonight!!


  2. Posted by Roberta (mom) on September 2, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    It was quite wonderful!! Thanks Steph!


  3. I’ve always wanted to do roasted cauliflower. I’ll add this to my foodie bucket list. 😉


  4. Mmm, love roasted cauliflower!


  5. This sounds awesome. I love cauliflower… and olives. I’ve never thought of having them together though! BRILLIANT! I love it!
    Thanks for sharing AND for linking up for Sunday Funday!!!


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