Penne with Cauliflower and Capers

Penne with Cauliflower and Capers

Prep Time


Cook Time



Penne with Cauliflower and Capers

The small unopened flower buds of a shrub native to the Mediterranean, capers are dried and then packed in brine or salt. Be sure to rinse them and blot dry before using. They lend a pleasantly pungent flavor to this pasta dish.

Recipe courtesy of Williams-Sonoma


  • 1/2 pound penne pasta
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon chili flakes, or to taste
  • 1 head cauliflower, about 3/4 pound., cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


  • 1 Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions until al dente (tender but firm to the bite). Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.
  • 2 Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter until it is just starting to brown. Add the olive oil, then the onion and garlic. Cook until the onion is beginning to caramelize, about 7 minutes.
  • 3 Add the chili flakes and cauliflower and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add 3/4 cup of the reserved cooking water and cook until the cauliflower is tender, 5 to 7 minutes more, adding more cooking water if needed.
  • 4 Add the pasta to the sauté pan and stir in the capers, cheese, parsley and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.


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