Cheesy Shrimp & Cauliflower Pasta

I love pasta dishes and wanted to find more ways to incorporate cauliflower into my menus - this recipe is based off some techniques I learned from Milk Street (such a great resource). It's a very light dish and not overly cheesy - it's got cheese but isn't heavy or thick. I love it! #cauliflower #pasta #cheese #shrimp

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 10-12 large raw shrimp, tails off
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, halved and trimmed of leaves
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, plus more to serve
  • 1 cup radiator pasta (or any short, curly pasta)
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan, finely grated, plus more to serve
  • 1/4 cup shredded provolone cheese, plus more to serve


How to cook Cheesy Shrimp & Cauliflower Pasta

  1. In a large pot, bring 4 quarts water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons salt and the cauliflower half and cook for 5 minutes; begin timing from the moment the cauliflower is added to the pot. Using tongs, transfer the cauliflower to a cutting board; reserve the pot and the water.
  2. When the cauliflower is cool enough to handle, chop the florets and stems into pieces slightly smaller than the pasta, discarding the thick, tough core. You should have about 2 cups. Return the water to a boil.
  3. In a nonstick 12-inch skillet over medium, heat the oil and garlic, stirring often, until the garlic is golden brown, 1-2 minutes. Add shrimp and cook for 2-3 minutes, flipping halfway. Remove shrimp and set aside.
  4. Add the cauliflower, pepper flakes and ½ teaspoon salt. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower is well browned, 7 to 9 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Reserve about 1½ cups cooking water, then drain. Add the pasta and ¼ teaspoon black pepper to the skillet with the cauliflower, then stir in 1 cup of the reserved cooking water.
  6. Cook over medium-high, stirring often, until the pasta is al dente, 3 to 5 minutes. If the pan becomes dry before the pasta is done, add another ¼ cup reserved cooking water and continue to cook.
  7. When the pasta is al dente, with the skillet still over medium-high, stir in another ¼ cup reserved cooking water. Sprinkle on the Parmesan, then stir until the cheese is evenly distributed and melted. Sprinkle on the provolone, then stir until the pasta is glossy and lightly coated with melted cheese, then remove the pan from the heat.
  8. If the mixture looks sticky and dry, stir in additional cooking water a few tablespoons at a time until the proper consistency is reached. Taste and season with salt and black pepper. Serve drizzled with additional cheese and pepper flakes.