Romanesco Cauliflower Pasta with Olives, Capers, and Parsley

A simple and flavorful romanesco cauliflower pasta with parsley, red pepper flakes, garlic, and bursts of saltiness from sliced kalamata olives and briny capers. Feel free to substitute seasonal romanesco with regular cauliflower to make this dish year round. Serve as a vegetarian-friendly main course or side dish!



  • 1 head of romanesco (or cauliflower)
  • 2 heaping tablespoons De Rustica extra virgin olive oil, Estate Medium, divided
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 heaping cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons capers, roughly chopped
  • large pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 heaping cup chopped Italian parsley leaves, lightly packed, plus more for garnishing
  • 1 lb dried linguini or fettuccine pasta
  • freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese, for serving (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Fahrenheit with a rack in the center position.
  2. Trim and discard the base of the romanesco and cut it in half, then quarters. Standing each quarter upright and holding your knife at an angle, trim the florets from the core. Most of the florets will fall off or can be separated easily with your fingers (you want the florets to be no larger than an inch in diameter); cut any larger florets in half with a knife to match the size of the other florets. Place the florets on a half sheet pan and toss with 1 heaping tablespoon olive oil, kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper. Distribute the florets cut-side down into an even layer, making sure that the florets aren’t touching one another if possible. Roast at 220 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, tossing halfway, or until caramelized and tender.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. Heat the remaining olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring continuously, or until fragrant. Do not allow it to gain color. Add the kalamata olives, capers, and red pepper flakes to the pan, and sauté for an additional minute or until warm. Taste for salt and pepper. Add half of the parsley to the skillet and keep the mixture warm – off the heat – as you cook the pasta.
  4. Boil the pasta until it is al dente, reserving a cup of cooking water. Return the pasta to the pot and add the kalamata olive and caper mixture and roasted cauliflower. Toss the mixture together gently, adding the remaining chopped parsley, and a touch of extra virgin olive oil and reserved cooking water if dry. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Serve immediately and garnish with chopped parsley and parmigiana cheese as desired.

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