Orecchiette with Cauliflower, Brown Butter, and Fried Capers

Source: Joanne Weir, www.joanneweir.com

Recipe Type: | Seasons:

This recipe was demonstrated for CUESA’s Market to Table program on February 2, 2013.
Serves 6


1 head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), cut into florets
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
Large pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
12 ounces dry orecchiette pasta
¼ cup capers, rinsed and patted dry
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano


1.    Preheat an oven to 400 ˚F.

2.    Place the cauliflower in a 13-inch x 9-inch baking pan and toss with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast the cauliflower until light golden and tender, about 30 to 40 minutes. 

3.    In a small frying pan, melt the butter and cook until the foam subsides and the milk solids turn golden brown and just begin to smoke. Remove the pan from the heat and add the garlic, cauliflower, and red pepper flakes. Toss together.

4.    Bring a pot of water to a simmer, add the orecchiette, and cook until al dente, 12 to 14 minutes. 

5.    In the meantime, warm the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil in a small frying pan over medium-high heat until the oil ripples. Add the capers and cook until crispy and golden, about 1 minute. 

6.    To serve, drain and toss with the pasta with the cauliflower, capers, olive oil, and lemon zest. Season with salt. Place in a warm serving bowl and garnish with the Parmigiano. Serve immediately.

Photo by Caleen Sikora.

Farmers Market Ingredients