Pasta with Cauliflower, Peppers and Walnut Pesto
Yes, I know two out of the last three recipes I posted have cauliflower. And yes, I also know that I’m forever singing the praises of pesto. Heck, I’ve even shared the recipe for this pesto before. What can I say? I like pesto a lot, and it’s one of the few things I never seem to tire of.
Richmond, I’m guessing like a lot of places, is going through this weird, not-quite-spring phase. I’m ready for full on warmer days, lingering outside listening to birds chirp and Clara squeal as she plays in the yard. This pasta is another one of those meals that perfectly bridges the gap between seasons. It’s simple, colorful and insanely flavorful. It gets my toddler to eat cauliflower and peppers in a way other than right off the cutting board. And you know what’s even more fun than cauliflower? Orange cauliflower. This pasta is such a fun way to brighten up dinner time.
- YIELD: about 6 servings
1½ cups lightly packed cilantro
½ cup lightly packed parsley
¾ cup walnuts
2 garlic cloves
½ cup olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of red pepper flakes, optional
12 ounces pasta (We used casarecce.)
1 small head of cauliflower (1½ pounds), cut into 1-inch florets (about 4 cups)
1 small red bell pepper, cut into ¼-inch wide strips
1 small yellow bell pepper, cut into ¼-inch wide strips
Combine the cilantro, parsley, walnuts and garlic in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. With the food processor running, drizzle in 6 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and add the red pepper flakes if desired.
Cook the pasta, according to package directions, in a large pot of boiling salted water. Drain, reserving ¼ cup of the pasta water.
While the pasta cooks, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cauliflower and a generous pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes until browned in spots. Add the peppers and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, another 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and add the pasta, pesto and reserved pasta water. Toss to combine. Season with additional salt and pepper, if needed.