Ziti with Cauliflower

Makes 6 first course servings.

Makes 4 main-course servings.

Since the main ingredient of this dish is available year-round, this recipe is one of my tried-and true standbys.  I serve it warm or at room temperature depending on the season.


  • 1 medium head cauliflower (about 2 pounds)

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 3 garlic cloves very finely chopped

  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • ½ cup pine nuts

  • Grated rind of 1 lemon

  • 3-4 tablespoons lemon juice

  • ¼ cup loosely packed oregano leaves

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 pound imported ziti


  1. Separate the cauliflower into very small florets and steam until al dente, about 3 minutes.

  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a wok, add the garlic, crushed red pepper and pine nuts. Sauté over low heat for a minute.

  3. Remove to a plate.

  4. Heat the rest of the oil in the wok. Add the steamed cauliflower and sauté over high heat, stirring frequently until the cauliflower is beginning to brown, about 3 minutes.

  5. Lower the heat and add the sautéed garlic mixture, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano leaves, salt and pepper.

  6. Bring 5 quarts of water in a large pot to a rolling boil. Add 2 tablespoons salt and all of the ziti. Stir and boil briskly, uncovered for about 6 minutes, until the pasta is al dente.

  7. Drain well in a colander and combine with the cauliflower.

  8. Season to taste with crushed red pepper lemon juice, salt and pepper.