Big Skillet Cauliflower Pasta

March 26, 2018 Updated: October 8, 2018

This recipe is reprinted from “Eating from the Ground Up: Recipes for Simple, Perfect Vegetables.” Copyright 2018 by Alana Chernila. Photographs copyright 2017 by Johnny Autry. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.

Big Skillet Cauliflower Pasta

This is my favorite kind of skillet cooking. I roast the cauliflower and sausage right in my big cast-iron skillet in the oven while the pasta and spinach cook together on the stove top. A little pasta water, a little goat cheese, and this all comes together in an incredibly satisfying one-bowl meal. I love the spice andouille brings to this, but you can make it milder by using a sweeter sausage. This dish is also great cold, so leftovers make a stellar lunch. You really need to use a large pan here; anything smaller than a 12-inch skillet just won’t cut it. If you don’t have a skillet big enough, use a large roasting pan.

Serves 4, with leftovers

  • 1 large head of cauliflower (about 2 pounds), cored and cut into small florets
  • 6 ounces cooked andouille sausage, quartered lengthwise and sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • Kosher salt
  • 12 ounces bow-tie pasta or orecchiette
  • 12 ounces spinach, large stems removed, roughly chopped
  • 4 ounces chevre
  • Freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

2. Spread the cauliflower florets and sausage over the bottom of your largest ovenproof skillet. It’s OK if they overlap. Drizzle with the olive oil, and sprinkle with the cumin seeds and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Roast until the cauliflower is golden, 25 to 30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the spinach during the last 20 seconds of cooking. Scoop out about a cup of pasta water, then drain the pasta and spinach in a colander. Do not rinse.

4. Carefully remove the skillet from the oven. Add the pasta and spinach to the skillet with about half the reserved pasta water. Crumble the chevre (or just gently break it up with your hands, depending on its texture) over the pasta. Gently stir, adding a touch more pasta water to melt the cheese. Season with additional salt, if needed, and lots of pepper.