Photo of One-pot pasta with cauliflower, lemon, and capers by WW

One-pot pasta with cauliflower, lemon, and capers

SmartPoints® value per serving
Total Time
35 min
18 min
15 min
There’s only one pot to clean up in this oh-so-easy pasta dish. A sprinkle of salty Pecorino adds a big pop of flavor, and nicely balances out the fresh lemon juice and zest, as well as briny capers, but Parmesan works in a pinch too. Just be sure to keep an eye on everything as the pasta cooks and sauce forms—stirring frequently creates that much-needed emulsion for one-pot pastas to help thicken the sauce and prevent sticking.


Olive oil

1 Tbsp

Garlic clove(s)

3 medium clove(s), thinly sliced

Red pepper flakes

¼ tsp

Uncooked whole wheat pasta

8 oz, penne variety

Uncooked cauliflower

1 head(s), small, cut into bite-size florets (about 4 cups)


3 cup(s)

Lemon zest

1 tsp

Fresh lemon juice

¼ cup(s)

Table salt

1 tsp

Black pepper

¼ tsp


1½ Tbsp

Grated Pecorino Romano cheese

¼ cup(s)

Fresh parsley

¼ cup(s), chopped


  1. Heat oil in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. When oil shimmers, add garlic and red pepper; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  2. Add pasta, cauliflower, water, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper to pot; increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Cook, uncovered, stirring frequently, until pasta is al dente, cauliflower is completely soft and beginning to break down, and liquid has reduced to a thick, saucy consistency, 10-12 minutes (if pasta starts to stick together before it’s fully cooked, add an additional 1/2 cup of water).
  3. Remove pot from heat and stir in capers; cover and let sit 2 minutes. Serve sprinkled with cheese and parsley.
  4. Serving size: 1 1/2 c