That’s the key to getting it deeply golden and crispy--and NO TOUCHING!--so don’t skimp and let it get nice and golden before you toss and repeat. The whole process takes less than 15 minutes, just enough time to boil the pasta and grate the cheese. Cook, relax and enjoy!
What you’ll need:
1 head cauliflower
1 oz Parmesan
4 cloves garlic
1 oz pine nuts
fresh oregano sprigs
6 oz orecchiette
1 tsp crushed red pepper
freshly ground pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cut florets from cauliflower core. Finely chop florets or pulse in a food processor until finely chopped (you should have 5 cups. Reserve any extra for another use). Finely grate Parmesan.
Peel and roughly chop garlic. Remove oregano leaves from stems and add to garlic along with pinenuts. Continue to chop until garlic mixture is mostly finely chopped (this is your gremolata).
Heat 5 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add cauliflower and ¾ teaspoon salt and toss to coat. Cook, undisturbed, until cauliflower is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Toss and cook undisturbed, 2 minutes. Repeat until all of cauliflower is golden brown, 12–15 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook orecchiette in boiling salted water until tender but a little al dente, 8–10 minutes. Reserve ¼ cup pasta water and drain.
Transfer cauliflower to a plate. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to skillet over medium-high. Add gremolata and half to all of the crushed red pepper (depending on how spicy you like it) and cook, stirring often, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer to plate with cauliflower.
Combine reserved pasta water and ¾ of Parmesan and whisk to combine. Add orecchiette, cauliflower, and gremolata and toss to combine. Zest lemon over pasta then cut in half. Serve pasta topped with remaining Parmesan and lemons for squeezing over. Enjoy!