Crusty Baked Shells & Cauliflower

Even sauteed cauliflower feels decadant in this cheesy-crunchy baked pasta from Ina Garten. Be careful not to overcook your pasta, as it will continue to cook in the oven. 

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  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 6 to 8

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  • Kosher salt 
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 pound medium shells, such as Barilla
  • Good olive oil
  • 2 1/2 pounds cauliflower, cut into small florets (1 large head)
  • 3 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh sage leaves
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups freshly grated Italian Fontina Val d’Aosta cheese, lightly packed (10 ounces with rind)
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) fresh ricotta
  • 1/2 cup panko (Japanese bread flakes)
  • 6 tablespoons freshly grated Italian Pecorino cheese
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

How to make this recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. 

  2.  Fill a large pot with water, add 2 tablespoons of salt and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, according to the instructions on the package. Since it will be baked later, don’t overcook it! Drain and pour into a very large bowl.

  3. Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large (12-inch) sauté pan over medium-high heat, add half of the cauliflower in one layer and sauté for 5 to 6 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the florets are lightly browned and tender. Pour the cauliflower, including the small bits, into the bowl with the pasta. Add 3 more tablespoons of olive oil to the sauté pan, add the remaining cauliflower, cook until browned and tender and add to the bowl.

  4. Add the sage, capers, garlic, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper to the bowl and stir carefully. Stir in the Fontina. Transfer half of the mixture to a 10 x 13 x 2–inch rectangular baking dish. Spoon rounded tablespoons of ricotta on the pasta and spoon the remaining pasta mixture on top. Combine the panko, Pecorino, parsley and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small bowl and sprinkle it evenly on top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until browned and crusty on top. Serve hot.

Make Ahead

Assemble the dish, cover and refrigerate overnight. Bake before serving.

Suggested Pairing

Light-bodied Pinot Noir: 2014 Angeline Reserve.

Contributed By Photo © Christina Holmes Published November 2016

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1091060 recipes/crusty-baked-shells-cauliflower 2016-09-26 Ina Garten november-2016 recipes,crusty-baked-shells-cauliflower 1091060