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Orecchiette is tossed with sauteed cauliflower and toasted pine nuts, then topped with crispy bread crumbs, in this easy Italian vegetarian weeknight pasta dinner. | justalittlebitofbacon.com
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Orecchiette with Cauliflower and Pine Nuts

Orecchiette is tossed with sauteed cauliflower and toasted pine nuts, then topped with crispy bread crumbs, in this easy Italian vegetarian weeknight pasta dinner.
Course Main
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 325kcal
Author Just a Little Bit of Bacon

Ingredients

Toasted Bread Crumbs

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs
  • 3-4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • kosher salt to taste

Pasta

  • 10 oz orecchiette
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 head cauliflower cut into bite-sized florets
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 medium shallots finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 14- oz can chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • For the toasted bread crumbs: Add the bread crumbs to a large skillet over medium heat. Pour in 3 tbsp olive oil and stir to combine, adding a bit more if needed. Continue cooking the bread crumbs until they are golden brown and toasted, 3-4 minutes. Add the parsley and salt to taste, then set the bread crumbs aside.
  • For the pasta: Begin heating a large pot of well salted water. Once it has come to a boil, add the orecchiette and cook according to the package directions. Scoop out one cup of the pasta water, then drain the pasta.
  • Meanwhile, heat another large skillet (or the same one for the bread crumbs, just transfer the bread crumbs to a bowl and wipe down the skillet) over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and toast them in the skillet, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes. Transfer them to a bowl for later.
  • Add the cauliflower to the hot skillet along with 1/4 cup water. Bring the water to a boil on medium high, then cover the skillet for 5 minutes, or until the cauliflower is crisp-tender. Uncover the skillet, reduce the heat to medium, and add the olive oil and butter. Once the butter has melted, saute for 3-4 minutes to brown the cauliflower. Then, add the kosher salt, shallots, garlic and chickpeas. Saute for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the cooked pasta to the skillet, along with about 1/2 cup of the pasta water, and the lemon juice. Cook, stirring frequently, until the pasta water is mostly absorbed and you have thick sauce which clings to the pasta. Add more pasta water if needed. Take the skillet off the heat and toss the pasta with the bread crumbs, toasted pine nuts, and parmesan cheese.
  • Serve with more parmesan cheese at the table.

Nutrition

Calories: 325kcal