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Roasted Cauliflower with Spaghetti and Caramelized Onions

Cautious about eating cauliflower? It is such a misunderstood vegetable. Childhood memories may bring back the ghastly taste of overcooked, mushy cauliflower with loads of cheese sauce over it to calm the taste buds. And then there is that smell when cauliflower is boiled, too sulfuric. No wonder it never has its culinary day in the sun. But roast the florets, and all of a sudden, it is a new day for the appreciation of this wonderful vegetable. Roasting caramelizes the sugars, creating a sweet taste just right for serving as a side dish, or tossing with spaghetti and caramelized onions for this delectable main course.

Serves 4 to 6

Preheat the oven to 350F


5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Grinding black pepper

1 small head cauliflower, cored and separated into 1-inch florets

1 large red onion, peeled and thinly sliced

1 pound spaghetti

1/2 cup grated Pecorino cheese


Combine three tablespoons of the olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl. Add the florets and toss well to coat.

Transfer the florets to a baking dish large enough to hold them in a single layer.

Bake them for about 20 to 25 minutes, turning them once or twice, until they look lightly browned. Set aside.

Meanwhile heat the remaining olive oil in a large saute' pan. (12 to 14 inches) Add the onions and cook them slowly over medium heat until they are wilted, have given off their liquid, and appear glazed looking. Season them with salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm while the spaghetti cooks.

Cook the spaghetti in four to six quarts of rapidly boiling water to which 1 tablespoon of salt has been added. Cook just until al dente; break a strand in half and if white flour is visible, cook longer. It is cooked when flour is no longer visible.

Drain the spaghetti in a colander, reserving 2 tablespoons of the cooking water.

Transfer the spaghetti to the saute' pan with the onion. Add the florets and reserved water. Heat everything together until hot. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture to a platter and sprinkle the cheese over the top.

You will never say no to cauliflower again.


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