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  • Writer's pictureBrittany Aldridge

Toasty Cauliflower Cavatelli with Lemon, Garlic, Chilli, & Parsley Salsa Verde

This toasty, deliciously cheesy, and super caramelised cauliflower pasta is the vegetarian pasta dish of your dreams (or mine)! Yummy fresh cavatelli and toasty cauliflower is then brightened up by a zingy lemon, garlic, chilli and parsley salsa verde. Sounds good right? It is.

Serves 4. To make this recipe super no-fuss use store bought pasta - anything like penne works well!


For the pasta dough:

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon cold water

  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup of type 00 white flour, plus more for dusting

For the cauliflower:

  • 150 grams of butter

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 tsp chilli

  • 2 garlic cloves

  • 1/2 head of cauliflower, roughly chopped into small pieces

  • salt and freshly cracked black pepper

  • 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, grated

For the salsa verde:

  • 1 large bunch of fresh parsley

  • 1 garlic clove

  • 1 lemon’s juice and zest

  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 tsp chilli flakes

  • 1 tbsp water


To make the fresh pasta dough:

  • In a mixing bowl add flour, salt, beaten egg, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Mix with your hands until the dough comes together. If your dough seems too crumbly, or its not holding together well, add the cold water and/or another teaspoon of olive oil.

  • Flour a chopping board and place dough on it. Knead the dough (for no more than 2 minutes) to form a ball. Flatten the dough so it is about 12 cms thick and then tightly wrap in cling wrap. Set this aside for at least an hour and a half for the dough to rest.

  • After the dough has rested, sprinkle a work surface with flour. Divide dough into 8 pieces; keep the other pieces covered with cling wrap while you work.

  • Roll out one piece at a time into a long rope, about 1/3 inch in diameter, then cut rope into 1/3-inch-long pieces. Using tip of your thumb, firmly press each piece against a gnocchi board (if using) or the work surface and pull dough toward you so it lengthens slightly and forms a curl in the middle. Transfer pieces to a floured baking tray. Repeat with remaining dough.

  • The cavatelli can be frozen if you would like to make this ahead of time! Just store in an airtight container.

For the salsa verde:

  • Roughly chop parsley and garlic cloves, then add to a blender. Pour in olive oil, lemon juice, water and then add the lemon zest and chilli. Blend for 1 minute or until combined and bright green in colour. Set aside for later.

For the cauliflower sauce and assembly:

  • Preheat the oven to 200 C fan forced 425 F. On a baking tray add the chopped cauliflower and the garlic cloves (making sure to leave the skin on the garlic). Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, and chilli flakes. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until tender and golden on the outside. Discard the roasted garlic and set aside to cool slightly.

  • Fill a large pot with hot water. Bring to the boil and add salt to the water before turning the stovetop down to a medium so that the water simmers.

  • In a shallow dutch oven or large saucepan, add butter and then put on the stovetop on medium heat. While the butter melts, stir it occasionally. First the butter will foam considerably, then after about 5 minutes or so (it could be longer depending on your stovetop) you should start to notice a nutty aroma and an overall darkening of the butter or brown specks.

  • Reduce heat to low, add the chilli flakes and cauliflower to the saucepan.

  • Tip the cavatelli into the pot of boiling water and cook for around two or three minutes or until the cavatelli begin to float.

  • Take the cavatelli out of the pot, and add to the burnt butter cauliflower sauce, tossing to coat, and turning the heat back onto low if necessary. Leave the cavatelli in the saucepan for at least 2 minutes so they absorb the beautiful browned butter flavour. Sprinkle over parmesan just before serving and stir to combine.

  • Serve immediately in medium pasta bowls seasoned with freshly cracked pepper and salt, then drizzled with the salsa verde. Please enjoy!

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