Pasta with cauliflower and capers in spicy tomato sauce

Contributed by Preston Maring, MD

Pasta with cauliflower and capers in spicy tomato sauce
Have you ever had a head of cauliflower languish a couple days just waiting for inspiration? Try this veggie pasta dish I found in New York Times Cooking. Simple and delicious.

Servings: 2


  • Whole wheat pasta of your choice
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 big cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes, pureed
  • 1 small head cauliflower or part of a big one, separated into small florets
  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed, drained and chopped
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • Handful parsley, chopped
  • Handful pecorino or parmesan-reggiano cheese, grated


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add a generous amount of salt. 
  2. Blanch the cauliflower for about 5 minutes, skim out to a bowl of cold water. Chop into small pieces. Bring the water back to a boil. 
  3. Cook pasta of your choice. 
  4. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a saucepan. 
  5. Sauté the garlic and crushed red chilies until the garlic is fragrant. 
  6. Add the pureed tomatoes, cauliflower, capers, a pinch of sugar, and a little salt. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. 
  7. Stir in the parsley. 
  8. Add the cooked pasta. Stir to coat and serve topped (or not) with the grated cheese.