Cavatappi with Cauliflower Sauce

Total Time
49 min
10 min
39 min
Old-world Italian comes to mind when considering this satisfying dish, where cauliflower is cooked until it is soft enough to mash and served over curly pasta.


Olive oil

1 tsp, extra-virgin


2 clove(s), finely chopped

Red pepper flakes

¼ tsp, to 1/8, or to taste

Frozen cauliflower

10 oz, 1 package, thawed

Tomato paste

1 Tbsp

Reduced sodium chicken broth


Uncooked pasta

8 oz, 2 cups of trumpetti or medium shells

Fresh parsley

2 Tbsp, fresh, chopped


  1. Heat the oil, garlic, and crushed red pepper in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook until the oil sizzles and the garlic just begins to turn golden, about 1 minute. Place the cauliflower and tomato paste on opposite sides of the skillet and cook, stirring separately, until tomato paste turns orange-gold, about 1 minute. Add the broth, stirring to blend; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the cauliflower is very tender, 20–23 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the trumpetti according to package directions, omitting the salt; drain. Add the pasta to the cauliflower sauce and toss until mixed. Serve, sprinkled with the parsley. Yields 1 1/2 cups per serving.


The mash can be made up to a day ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container. Heat in a microwave dish on High, partially covered, 2 to 3 minutes, until hot, stirring halfway through the cooking.Cauliflower is an often-overlooked vegetable that is versatile and available year-round. When choosing it, look for a snowy white head that is free from soft spots and black marks. The leaves should look fresh and bright green.