Creamy Cauliflower Penne (Penne alla Crema di Cavolfiore)

Creamy Cauliflower Penne

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Creamy Cauliflower Penne (Penne alla Crema di Cavolfiore) is a classic winter Italian dish, that is simple, delicate and tasty.  Easy and fast weeknight dish.


  • 1 small head cauliflower (about 3 cups cooked cauliflower)
  • 250 g penne pasta
  • 1/4 cup half and half cream
  • 3 Tbsp e.v.o. oil
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed a little
  • pinch of peperoncino (chili flakes)
  • 1 Tbsp parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp Grana Padano (or Pecorino Romano)
  • 2 Tbsp breadcrumbs, toasted (for topping)
  • 2 drops e.v.o. oil


  1. Wash and clean the cauliflower, cut it into florets and boil it in water for about 10 minutes, or until fork tender. Scoop out, and leave the water where you will cook the pasta.
  2. Puree the boiled cauliflower florets with 1 Tbsp of the pasta water and 1 Tbsp of the cream.
  3. In a saute pan add the 3 tablespoons of olive oil, the smashed garlic clove, the pinch of chili flakes, and the chopped parsley. Saute for about 3 minutes. Remove garlic clove.
  4. Add the cauliflower puree, and season with salt and pepper. Add the rest of the cream and stir and cook for just a few minutes. Turn off heat.
  5. In another non-stick pan, toast the 2 tablespoons of breadcrumbs with just a drop of oil, stirring briefly until they are a golden brown color. Do not burn!
  6.  Add salt to the cauliflower cooking water. Bring to a boil, add the penne, and cook the pasta for the time suggested on the package.
  7. Drain the pasta, leaving a couple ladles of pasta cooking water (just in case). Stir the pasta in the cream of cauliflower adding some water if needs more creaminess. Blend well and add the two tablespoons of Grana or Pecorino, stirring again.
  8. Plate the penne and sprinkle with the toasted breadcrumbs and a drop of e.v.o. oil. Serve warm.
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