This is the best dish of pasta I've ever made. Like, ever. In my life. Hands down.
And ok...I have said quite a few things are my favoritest beyond compare forever in my life, and they didn't really stick. Danny Wood of NKOTB fame, I know I said your life-size wall poster that I won doing squat races at the roller rink would be my favorite forever, hands down. But then I came to my senses and realized how not attractive you actually are. And seriously, it's not my fault that Jonathan Brandis came along in Ladybugs circa 1992 and swept me off my feet with a better poster. I worked my little quads off at the rink that winter to stick him on my wall. He was a heart throb even as "Martha", rest his soul.
And I know I said freshman year of college that the Screwdriver would be my go-to drink of choice forever (God, why exactly??), but it's not my fault that the irresponsible sophomore bartender over-served me and I can't drink orange juice to this day. Well unless it has champagne in it. Go figure.
I also know I told you that my Mom's meatballs in homemade tomato sauce would always be my favorite. Nothing will change the fact that it's my favorite bowl of spaghetti, meatballs, and generations-old tomato sauce. But it's really not my fault that a non-tomato, roasted cauliflower pasta has come along and wooed me with it's lemon-thyme charms.
Have you noticed how much I like to say it's not my fault?
Anyway, I can imagine and appreciate your incredulousness. Incredulocity? Whatever. Your hesitance to believe me here and now. Wait, hesitancy? Ugh! I can't write today. I'm too in love with pasta.
This recipe for linguine with roasted cauliflower in a light lemon sauce was featured in this month's issue of Cooking Light. It sounded great as is, but I snuck in some crumbled turkey sausage and extra lemon. Spin move!
I'm pretty sure the clincher here is making the pasta sauce in the same skillet used to brown the sausage. Whisking the starchy cooking liquid and pan drippings with lemon and thyme creates a naturally thickened sauce that sticks wonderfully to the pasta, and the roasted cauliflower adds a healthy, crunchy personality. And make sure you add your cooked pasta to the sauce to saute for a minute or two! This infuses more flavor than simply pouring it over top.
This is a simple, light pasta dish that you'll be talking about for days, I promise! That's all I have to say. And if it's not your instant new favorite pasta, it's really not my fault you have duds for tastebuds.
Roasted Cauliflower Linguine
Lemon and Thyme
Adapted from Cooking Light Magazine
Yields 4 servings
Yields 4 servings
1 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
3 tbs water
4 tsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
8 oz uncooked whole wheat linguine
1 lb turkey sausage, casings removed
1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon zest
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
2 tsp fresh garlic minced
1/2 c Parmesan cheese
Sliced lemon (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400 deg F. Combine the cauliflower, water, and salt/pepper in a large bowl, tossing to combine. Drizzle 2 tsp of the olive oil over the cauliflower, and toss to coat. Arrange the mixture on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, and bake for 40 minutes or until cauliflower is tender and golden, stirring twice.
Cook the pasta according to the package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and set aside, but reserve 1/2 c of the cooking liquid.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, and coat with cooking spray. Add the sausage to the skillet, and cook for 5 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Remove the sausage and set aside.
Add the remaining 2 tsp olive oil to the drippings in the pan, still over medium-high heat. Add the reserved cooking liquid, and bring to a boil. Boil for 30 seconds, or until thick, stirring constantly with a whisk. Whisk in the lemon zest, juice, thyme, and garlic. Add the pasta, and toss it all together.
Turn off the heat, and add the cauliflower and sausage. Toss to combine. Top with cheese and a few lemon slices if desired, and serve immediately.