Why we love it:
- 2 Tablespoons Kosher Salt (divided)
- 1 head Cauliflower
- 1 bunch Asparagus
- 1 cup Frozen Peas
- 1⁄2 pound Sugar Snap Peas (strings removed)
- 1 pound Rotelli Pasta
- 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
- 1 pint Cherry Tomatoes
- 1⁄2 Red Onion (thinly sliced in half rings)
- 1 teaspoon Dried Italian Seasoning
- 1⁄2 teaspoon Black Pepper (freshly cracked)
- 1 cup Parmesan Cheese (use high quality, freshly grated)
- 1 Lemon (zest and juiced)
- 1 pinch Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
Bring a large pasta pot full of water to a boil. Add all but ½ teaspoon of salt.
While the water comes to a boil, chop the cauliflower and place in a bowl. You can use most of the stems here, too, just cut into small 1” pieces.
Slice off the bottom of the asparagus spears, then slice them all into 1” pieces on an angle. Keep separate from the cauliflower, but to them you can add the frozen peas and sugar snap peas. Slice sugar snap peas in ½ on an angle.
When the water is boiling, add the pasta and cauliflower and cook according to package directions - usually for this pasta, that’s around 9 - 10 minutes.
3. Drain but save water
When the pasta and cauliflower are done, use a liquid measuring cup to collect 1.5 cups of the cooking water and reserve it for later. Drain the pasta/cauliflower and let it hang out in the colander, don’t rinse it.
Return the large pot to the stove top.
4. Onions + Tomatoes
Turn the heat to medium-high and melt the butter. Add the whole cherry tomatoes and the sliced red onion. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. Add the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt, the Italian seasoning, and the black pepper. Add the green vegetables and cook for 4 minutes, continuing to stir occasionally.
5. Pasta Water
To the pan, add ½ cup of the pasta water and let it come to a boil to finish cooking the green vegetables.
6. A note on Parmesan
If possible, use real “parmigiano reggiano” here and grate it with a microplane or the smallest holes of your box grater. It's fluffy this way, and 1 cup really isn’t that much.
If you have pre-grated parmesan of any kind, you’ll probably only want about ½ cup total and don’t add it in the next step as described. When this type mixes with the cheese, it just clumps. So this type of parmesan can be added all on top at the end to garnish.
7. Finish Up
Add the pasta and cauliflower into the pot, also add the lemon zest and juice and chili flakes (if using). Add all but a few teaspoons of parmesan (which you can reserve for garnish) and combine. If you feel that it's dry at this point, add another ¼ cup of pasta water to taste.
Divide pasta among bowls and garnish with more parmesan and more black pepper to taste.