I saw a post on Serious Eats about pizza with Tunisian-spiced cauliflower and couldn’t get the idea out of my head. Harissa — North African tomato and spice paste — in place of marinara? Brilliant! Making pizza at home isn’t really my bag: too much cheese, my oven doesn’t really get hot enough, it takes a long time. But pasta? I like pasta enough to write a blog about it. And this made a spectacular noodle dish.
The original recipe uses only cauliflower, no broccoli, as well as fennel and roasted red peppers. I’m sure that’d be great, but I wanted to streamline things a little for a week-night. Low-fat ricotta in place of mozzarella also keeps things real. The result was fast, delicious, and satisfying. As they say in Tunisia… I actually have no idea what they say in Tunisia. —The Pasta Man
Boil pasta until al dente in heavily salted water. Reserve cup of pasta cooking water.
Mix dry spices and garlic with broccoli and cauliflower in bowl. Coat broccoli and cauliflower with most of harissa paste, reserving rest.
Pre-heat oven to 450. Put florets in pan and cook, stirring once, until florets are tender and beginning to crisp, about 25 minutes. Mix pasta with florets and remaining harissa, slowly adding a tablespoon or two of reserved pasta water as necessary to thin sauce. Taste for salt. Serve with dollop of ricotta and passing parmesan.