Cacio e Pepe gets a fun and healthy twist with Sfoglini Whole Grain Radiators and cauliflower! This sauce has a very creamy texture and delicious flavor that gets captured in each layer of the radiators. Topped with chopped roasted cauliflower as well, it’s a creative spin on a classic Italian dish.
MAKES FOUR SERVINGS
Two heads cauliflower, about 2 lbs. each
Remove the entire stem from both heads of cauliflower, then chop into large florets. Set aside 3/4 of the cauliflower (around 7-8 cups) to use for the sauce and chop the rest into smaller florets to use for the roasted topping.
To roast the cauliflower florets, heat the oven to 420° F. Toss the cauliflower with the oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and spread them out on a lined baking sheet. Roast in the oven for fifteen minutes, then toss on the sheet and return to the oven for an additional ten minutes or until browned. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Set a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the remaining florets and boil them for 7-10 minutes, depending on the size of the florets, until they are fork tender. Remove them from the boiling water and let them cool for ten-fifteen minutes. Do not drain the pot.
Add the cauliflower, along with 1 cup of water from the pot, to a food processor or blender and puree until they are nearly smooth. Add the pecorino and puree again until the mixture is completely smooth, with absolutely no lumps. Transfer the sauce to a large bowl and stir in the pepper. Measure the sauce. There should be a little over four cups. If there is less, stir in some reserved pasta water once available.
Return the pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta to the pot of boiling water and cook according to the package directions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water before straining.
Transfer the cooked pasta to the bowl with the sauce. Stir gently to combine, then taste and add seasonings as needed. If the sauce is too thick to properly coat the radiators, add some of the pasta cooking water and gently toss again.
Serve the pasta on individual plates, topping with the roasted cauliflower florets and more Pecorino and pepper.
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Chef's Note: Another cooking option for this recipe would be to roast all the cauliflower, then blend 3/4 of it for the sauce. This will change the flavor, color, and quantity of the sauce. When compared with boiling cauliflower, roasting removes a significant amount of water (and therefore mass), so there will be less sauce produced from roasting and the color will be more of a tan than off-white. The flavor will be substantially more complex, very different from the original dish, yet still delicious!