Rigatoni with Tuscan-Style Cauliflower and Pecorino
- 4 tablespoons virgin olive oil
- 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 6 mint leaves
- 1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper
- 1 5 -inch head of cauliflower, about 1 to 1-1/4 pounds
- 1 pound rigatoni pasta, preferably Italian
- 1/2 cup grated Pecorino cheese
- 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1 bunch Italian parsley, finely chopped to yield 1/4 cup
Bring 6 quarts water to boil in a large spaghetti pot and add 2 tablespoons salt.
In a 14- to 18-inch saute pan, heat oil until just smoking and add onion, mint and red pepper. Cook until soft, about 5 to 6 minutes.
Meanwhile, remove leaves and base core from cauliflower and chop into 1/4-inch pieces. Break the florets away from the central core and size them similarly. Cut the core into 1/4-inch coins and throw all the pieces into the saute pan with the onions. Lower the heat to medium and cook, stirring regularly for about 12 to 15 minutes, until cauliflower is softened and light brown but not mushy.
Cook the rigatoni according to package instructions until al dente, about 8 to 12 minutes, and drain in colander. Toss hot pasta into pan with cauliflower and add grated cheese, black pepper and parsley. Toss to coat and serve immediately.