This simple dish is based on a traditional Italian pasta recipe with ricotta sauce. Since the sauce is based mainly on the ricotta itself, it’s very important to use a hand dipped ricotta in this recipe, or any ricotta that’s flavorful enough to hold the dish.
Preparation time for this recipe is short, but you’ll need to be patient with the cauliflower and give it enough time in the oven to roast until it’s tender.
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt to taste
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 lb. short dry pasta of any kind
1/2 lb. hand dipped ricotta
1. Oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit). Cut the cauliflower to similar size florets, about 1.5 inch diameter. Spray with oil spray, drizzle with one tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt. Put on a greased baking sheet and roast for about 45-60 minutes in the oven, stirring every 20 minutes, until tender and browned. Chop cauliflower florets into 1/2 inch pieces.
2. To roast the breadcrumbs, heat the rest of the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs and thyme and cook while stirring until nicely browned. Remove from heat and transfer to a small bowl.
3. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water according to the directions on the package. You will use some of the cooking water for the sauce.
4. Put the ricotta in a large bowl and add a ladle-full of the pasta cooking water shortly before the pasta is ready. Add a little salt and mix until smooth.
5. Drain pasta and put in the bowl with the ricotta, mix and taste for salt. Mix the cauliflower in and transfer to serving bowls. Serve with breadcrumbs on top.