Shells with Roasted Cauliflower, Zucchini and Anchovies

Can you believe it’s been five weeks since I’ve posted a pasta recipe? I’ll give you a moment while you catch your breath. While I have absolutely no explanation for this oversight, I can assure you there will be no shortage of pasta moving forward, because that would just be a tragedy.

This recipe from Bon Appetit combines a few of my favorite things: roasted cauliflower, breadcrumbs, and pasta. It's similar to the Sicilian Spaghetti I love so much, but with larger, cooked-to-toasty-perfection breadcrumbs that play a big role adding texture to the dish.

The key with breadcrumbs is to cook them on low heat for about 15 minutes, until they're evenly brown and the bread cubes have absorbed all the oil. Start them when you turn on the water for the pasta, and they'll be ready when it's time to toss everything together.


Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit


1 large head of cauliflower (28 to 30 ounces), trimmed, cut into 1-inch florets
8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 pound shell pasta
1 1/2 cups 1/3-inch cubes crusty country-style bread
3 medium zucchini, trimmed, cut into 1/3-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
7 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided
1/3 cup (packed) freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving
2 tablespoons freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 425°F. Toss cauliflower florets with 1 tablespoon olive oil in large bowl to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and spread in single layer on large rimmed baking sheet. Roast until cauliflower florets are tender and beginning to brown in spots, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling generously salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta, reserving 1 1/3 cups pasta cooking liquid. Set pasta and cooking liquid aside separately.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large deep nonstick skillet or large pot over low heat. Add bread cubes and sauté until golden brown and crisp, about 15 minutes. Transfer to small bowl and cool. Reserve skillet or pot.

Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to same skillet or pot and heat over medium-high heat. Add zucchini and garlic and sauté until zucchini is golden brown and crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add cauliflower and anchovies and sauté until heated through, 3 to 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add drained pasta, reserved 1 1/3 cups pasta cooking liquid, remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1/3 cup parsley, 1/3 cup Parmesan, and Pecorino Romano cheese and toss to coat. Season pasta to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Divide pasta among bowls; sprinkle with fried croutons, remaining parsley, and additional Parmesan cheese and serve.