Sheet Pan Cauliflower Parm with Rotelli
Why we love it:
- 1 head Cauliflower (large)
- 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil (divided)
- 2 Tablespoons Kosher Salt (divided)
- 1 Egg
- 1 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon Dried Italian Seasoning (or dried oregano)
- 3 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter (divided)
- 1 pound Rotelli Pasta (or pasta shape of choice)
- 1 15-ounce can Crushed Tomatoes (or diced tomatoes)
- 8 ounces Fresh Mozzarella
- 1⁄2 cup Parmesan Cheese
- 1⁄2 Lemon (zest and juice)
1. PREHEAT THE OVEN TO 450 DEGREES
Place an empty baking sheet (with rimmed sides) in the middle of the oven while it preheats.
2. BRING A LARGE POT OF WATER TO A BOIL
Place the cauliflower on a cutting board. Most of the leaves can stay attached but if there are any that are yellow, dirty or dry, you can remove them (if the whole head is dirty, wash the whole thing and shake it dry).
Slice into ⅓” thick “steaks.” Some small florets will fall off, but just keep going to get 4-6 steaks.
Place flat on a clean work surface, drizzle with a little oil and sprinkle evenly with half of the salt. In a bowl whisk the egg with 1 Tablespoon water. Place the breadcrumbs in a casserole dish or a plate and stir in a ½ teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of dried Italian seasoning.
Set up a clean plate or dish to catch the breaded cauliflower.
Dip each piece in the egg, turn to coat, then press into the breadcrumb pan. Press gently to get the breading to adhere evenly. Move to the reserved pan and repeat with the rest.
Once the oven has been fully preheated for at least 5 minutes, carefully remove the pan from the oven.
Add 1 Tablespoon of the butter and half of the olive oil directly to the pan and swirl to help it melt. Use tongs to place the cauliflower pieces on the pan, swipe them through the butter and oil just a bit before letting them settle in place. Try to ultimately have all of the oil and melted butter tucked directly underneath all of the pieces of cauliflower. Return pan to the lowest rack in the oven. Bake for 9 minutes.
When the water boils, salt it generously (typically 1 Tablespoon of salt to a pasta pot) and cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Drain when it’s al dente.
7. SAUCE AND MOZZARELLA
While the cauliflower cooks, prep sauce and mozzarella. Open the can of tomatoes and stir a ½ teaspoon salt directly into it. Slice the mozzarella thinly.
8. FLIP CAULIFLOWER
After the first 12 minutes in the oven, divide another Tablespoon of butter into small slices, one for each piece. Pull the pan out and dab each piece of cauliflower with butter then flip the cauliflower, letting the butter land underneath.
Return to the oven and cook for 5 minutes more.
9. TOP WITH MOZZARELLA
Pull the cauliflower out of the oven and spoon the sauce over top of each piece – we like to keep it a little thicker in the center so you can see the edges of the cauliflower steak, but you could also completely smother with sauce.
Top each piece with mozzarella - you can go light or full restaurant style and smother it with cheese.
Return to the oven on the top rack this time, and bake about 5 minutes longer until browned and tender when pierced with a knife.
Stir the last Tablespoon of butter and 1 teaspoon olive oil into the hot pasta. Zest the lemon over and squeeze half of the juice (save the other half for other recipes this week). Give it a pinch of salt and stir to taste. Add most of the parmesan (reserve just a little for garnish), and toss.
Plate the pasta and top with a cauliflower parm steak and sprinkle the whole plate with parmesan to taste.
Leftover parm is amazing on a roll as a sandwich, or reheated in the oven until warmed through.