cooking · Dinner

Two New Pasta Recipes: Spicy Cauliflower Pasta & Lemony Spaghetti

Two different pasta dishes from this past week. Both are vegetarian friendly and full of vibrant taste!

I know Saffron is horribly expensive and you can leave it out if need be, but keep an eye out for a jar – I don’t buy spices in jars very often, I prefer bulk so I can refill my massive spice collection – if you watch sales though you can find buy one, get one free deals and that is when to stock up. Or look for vials of saffron sold in co-op’s in the bulk spice section. Having an extensive collection of spices and herbs means you can create whatever sounds tasty to you – without an expensive unplanned purchase!

Spicy Cauliflower Pasta


  • Pinch of saffron threads
  • 1 head of cauliflower, cored and cut into small florets
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup raw walnuts, diced
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste (preferably from a tube)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 large lemon, zested and juiced
  • 2 Tbsp fresh or dried parsley, finely chopped
  • 13.25 ounce box whole-grain or whole wheat rotini
  • Freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese


Place the saffron on a small glass bowl, cover with 2 Tablespoons boiling water, set aside.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil, add the cauliflower and cook till tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Scoop out and set aside in a colander over a bowl, pull out 1 cup of the cooking water, set aside. Return the pot of water to a boil, cook pasta for time on package. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water, set aside and drain the pasta.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium. add the oil and onion, sauté until tender. add the garlic and red pepper, cook for a minute. Add the walnuts and raisins, cook for a couple of minutes.

Stir the tomato paste and black pepper in, then the saffron with water, cauliflower, bay leaf and half the reserved cauliflower cooking water.Turn down to medium-low, mash the cauliflower a bit with the back of a spoon, making a chunky sauce. add the rest of the cauliflower water, let simmer covered for 5 to 10 minutes while the pasta cooks. Turn off the heat, remove and discard the bay leaf, add the lemon zest and juice, pasta and parsley. Toss, adding the reserved pasta water for a creamy sauce. Grate the cheese over the top, stirring in.

Season to taste with salt and serve.

Serves 4.

We don’t eat meat or fish often these days (in fact it is very rare) but I have a hard time passing up the Copper River wild Salmon that shows up in late May/early June. It is a lovely fish. A little goes a long way. How people can eat…farmed salmon…gag…is beyond me. That stuff is nasty! I served this tasty lemon and vegetable pasta alongside my tasty salmon.

Lemony Spaghetti


  • 13.25 ounce package multi-grain or whole wheat spaghetti
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms or button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 2 cups packed spinach leaves, chopped
  • 1 large lemon, zested and juiced
  • Ground black pepper
  • Freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese


Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil, add spaghetti (broken in half), cook for time on package. Reserve a small amount of pasta water, drain the spaghetti.

Meanwhile in a large skillet over medium-high heat the oil, add the mushrooms and sauté until browning and have released their juices. Add the garlic and spinach, turn down to medium, sautéing the spinach until vibrant green. Toss with the hot spaghetti, lemon juice and zest and a smattering of pepper. Take off the heat and toss, adding freshly grated cheese as you toss. If the pasta seems dry add a little reserved water while stirring.

Plate up and enjoy.

Serves 4.


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