Recipes Main Courses Pasta Rice and Grains Penne with Cauliflower and Capers
Penne with Cauliflower and Capers

Penne with Cauliflower and Capers

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4
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.


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


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.

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. 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.

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. Serves 4.

Williams-Sonoma Kitchen