Creamy & Spicy Cauliflower Spaghetti
This is by no means a traditional pasta whatsoever but gosh, it’s perfect in my eyes and stomach. For this recipe, I wanted to challenge myself to make a pasta dish with some unconventional yet simple ingredients and still achieve a similar taste and outcome. This is the third iteration of a few weeks of developing this recipe and I’m finally pleased to share it with you.
It’s a creamy cauliflower and slightly spicy miso sauce that is topped with toasted panko breadcrumbs, chives, chilli oil and cheese. It sounds weird but trust me, it just works! Think an Asian ingredient ‘Aglio E Oilo’ had a baby with ‘Cacio e Pepe’. It’s perfectly balanced: the tubular spaghetti is soaked in the creamy, silky, slightly spicy sauce but then the breadcrumbs add a welcome crunch, the chives add a hit of refreshment, the chilli oil adds a kick of spice and the sprinkle of cheese anchors down the creaminess of the sauce, because I wasn’t going to go rouge on a pasta dish but not actually have a bit of cheese on top.
What’s even better is there is actually no cheese or dairy in the actual sauce, which makes this a slightly lighter option for a mid week meal or the perfect dinner to make for a fussy child or family. So technically the sauce is vegan and vegetarian friendly and also dairy and gluten free.
I did add chilli oil to this and felt it was necessary to not only mask the taste of cauliflower but also add another level of flavour and spice, but if you’re not into spice, you can absolutely leave it out.
I hope you try and enjoy it!
Cooking Time- 40 minutes
Skill Level- Easy
- ¾ of panko breadcrumbs
- Optional: ½ a cup of grana padano or parmigiano reggiano cheese, finely grated plus extra to top the pasta
- ½ a head of cauliflower, roughly chopped into small pieces
- 1 brown onion, roughly chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons of my homemade chilli oil or a generous pinch of dried chilli flakes
- 2 tablespoons of white miso paste
- 1 packet (500g) of San Remo Tubular Spaghetti
- 1 small bunch of chives finely chopped
- Firstly, toast ¾ cup of breadcrumbs by heating a large pan on medium and stirring the breadcrumbs in the pan without any oil until they go from a pale cream colour to a light golden brown. Once lightly golden brown, optionally sprinkle in half a cup of cheese and stir for 30 seconds or until the cheese has melted and starts to clump to the breadcrumbs like granola clusters. You can leave the cheese out and serve the breadcrumbs toasted as is though. Place in a bowl and to the side as we will sprinkle these on top of the pasta at the end.
- Then roughly chop 1 brown onion, and 4 cloves of garlic and place into the same pan that you toasted your breadcrumbs in with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and cook for 1 minute.
- Then, roughly but finely chop up ½ a head of cauliflower (stems and all) and place into the same pan. At this point you can optionally add in a tablespoon of chilli flakes or my homemade chilli oil. This adds flavour and a bit of spice to the cauliflower whilst it cooks and helps to mask its taste if you have any fussy eaters.
- Cook on medium for about 15 minutes or until the cauliflower has reduced in size, slightly softened and browned. It’s okay if the cauliflower is browned with some char marks as this adds flavour.
- Then add in 1 litre of ideally boiling water to the pan, stir in 2 tablespoons of white miso paste and place a lid on your pan simmering on medium for another 10 minutes. The miso paste adds a salty and savoury flavour (also known as umami) to the sauce that will make it taste similar to cheese.
- Whilst your cauliflower sauce is simmering, cook 1spaghetti in a pot of salted boiling water until al dente.
- Check on your cauliflowers sauce. Once the cauliflower is tender, blitz up the mixture into a smooth sauce using an immersion blender or a normal blender if you don’t have one. If your mixture is too thick, just add ½ a cup to 1 cup of water to thin it out.
- Transfer your spaghetti straight from the pot into your pan and stir to combine the spaghetti with the sauce. You want the spaghetti to absorb some of the sauce for maximum flavour. Also feel free to add in a ladle or so of the starchy pasta water to slightly thin out the sauce as well as emulsify the sauce so its becomes creamier.
- Transfer to a plate and top with chives, your toasted breadcrumbs, chilli oil and a generous optional pinch of cheese.