This recipe uses a few smart shortcuts and multi-tasking to get dinner on the table in minutes. To add flavor and texture, I roast the cauliflower with a little olive oil, salt, pepper and sugar. While the cauliflower roasts and the pasta cooks, make the sauce using a small amount of pancetta, anchovy, red chili flakes, skim milk, and the starchy pasta water. Top the pasta with a crunchy whole wheat panko-parmesan bread crumb mixture & you’ve got a delicious spring pasta.
1# linguini, spaghetti or bucatini pasta
1 large head of cauliflower, cut into 1” florets
2 T olive oil
4 oz pancetta, cut in small dice
2 oil packed anchovy fillet
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 small yellow onion, diced
½ t red chili flakes
1 1/2 C skim milk (mixed with 1t corn starch if desired)
2 C arugula
¼ C flat leaf parsley, minced
1 C whole wheat panko
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ C Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1 ea lemon zest
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine cauliflower, 2 T olive oil, salt pepper and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Toss well. Transfer to a parchment lined, rimmed baking sheet and spread in an even layer, maximizing the cut-sides down. Roast until cauliflower is just browned and tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
Meanwhile, prepare pasta and sauce. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Heat 1T oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add pancetta and cook until evenly browned. Add thinly sliced garlic, anchovy (if using), onion and red chili flakes, sauté briefly. Drain off most of oil in pan and reserve for panko topping. Add skim milk mixed with cornstarch to skillet. Simmer until sauce thickens slightly. Add arugula. Season with salt and pepper.
Cook the pasta until al dente, 6-8 minutes. Drain pasta and return to pot. Reserve 1C pasta cooking water. Add cooked pasta to sauce tossing until pasta is well coated. If needed add some of the reserved pasta water to achieve the proper consistency.
Quickly toss whole wheat panko and 1 clove minced garlic with 1T of reserved pancetta oil. Toast in a small skillet over medium high heat until crispy and browned, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and add minced parsley, Parmigiano and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper.
Divide pasta among 6 serving bowls and top with panko topping.