Now that fall is well underway and the weather is cooling down, I’m finding myself making more dishes involving the use of my oven. While in summer I completely avoid anything that requires making a room any warmer than it already is, this season is all about embracing baked goods and oven-roasted meals. This pasta is one of those dishes that requires the use of an oven to roast the cauliflower; and while the ingredients list might seem long, it’s actually an incredibly simple dish to make (and only takes 30 minutes from start to finish). It’s evocative of the Orient thanks to its inclusion of pine nuts and pomegranate kernels, which give it lovely color and crunch.
Roasting the cauliflower adds depth of flavor, while all of the other ingredients give this gorgeous pasta texture and a hint of sweetness. It’s a lovely, warm dish that’s both comforting and ideal for entertaining, and if you make it without the yogurt (although I love it and highly recommend it), it’s entirely plant-based.
- 1 cauliflower head (about 700 g or 25 oz.)
- 2 large garlic cloves, skin on
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp. salt flakes (I use Maldon)
- 1 large brown onion (about 250 g or 9 oz)
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp salt flakes (I use Maldon)
- 1 tsp. soft brown sugar
- 150 g (or ½ cup) Greek yogurt
- ½ tsp. sumac
- 50 g (approx. ¼ cup) pine nuts, toasted
- 350 g (or 12.5 oz.) spaghetti (I use #5)
- 40 g (approx. ⅙ cup) golden raisins
- 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (optional)
- Pomegranate seeds to garnish (approx. 3 tbsp.)
- Preheat your oven to 250°C (480°F).
- Break up your cauliflower head into little florets, and place on a baking tray, along with the two cloves of garlic. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with the salt, and use your hands to rub these into the cauliflower. Place the baking tray in the center of the oven for 15-20 minutes (set a timer for 8 minutes, and flip over the cauliflower florets then so they roast evenly).
- While the cauliflower is in the oven, fill a large pot with water, salt it generously, and bring it to the boil.
- While the water is coming to the boil, slice your onion in half and then into thin rings. Place the olive oil in a large skillet, and when hot add the onion. Stir and cook until tender and beginning to color. At this point add the salt and sugar, and continue to stir to avoid sticking. Continue to cook the onion until it is a dark amber color, and reduced to about ⅓ its original volume.
- To make the yogurt sauce, mix the sumac with the yogurt. You can keep this refrigerated until you are ready to serve the pasta.
- Once the water has come to a boil, add the pasta and cook until al dente (about 7 minutes, but check the packet). Just before you drain your pasta, toss the raisins in the boiling water, and drain both pasta and raisins together. Reserve two tablespoons of the cooking water.
- Remove the cauliflower from the oven. Peel the two garlic cloves and smoosh them with the back of a knife.
- In an empty pot or bowl, mix the pasta (with the raisins), the onion, the cauliflower, the garlic, and the pine nuts together. Add the reserved cooking water and a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil (optional).
- Serve in a bowl or on a platter, with pomegranate seeds sprinkled on top, and the sumac-yogurt on the side.
- - filling a large pot with salted water for the pasta
- - toasting the pine nuts if they’re not already toasted
- - getting the pomegranate seeds out of a pomegranate
- - making the sumac-yogurt sauce
- - slicing the onion, and breaking the cauliflower into florets