Don’t-Waste-Those-Cauliflower-Stems Pasta

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Inspired by An Everlasting Meal


  • Stems and leaves from one cauliflower, sliced into ½-inch rectangles
  • ½ cup tart apple, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 ounces pasta (penne, macaroni and farfalle work well)
  • Breadcrumbs or crumbled croutons
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese


  1. For the pesto, fill a medium-sized pot with cauliflower stems, leaves, garlic and apples and add water until the contentss are halfway covered. Add salt and stir. Simmer about half an hour, or until the stems, apple and garlic are soft and no more than a tablespoon of water remains. You can add more water if it simmers down too quickly.
  2. Meanwhile, start the pasta in nicely salted water and cook according to package directions.
  3. In a separate pot, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and toast the breadcrumbs, stirring often.
  4. Transfer the contents of the pesto pot to a blender and puree. Pour pureed pesto into a bowl and mix in the rest of the olive oil. (You can also add the olive oil to the mix at the start of simmering, but I’ve started to notice that olive oil turns sour if I process it too much, so I wanted to avoid putting it in the blender.)
  5. Stir pesto and pasta together and spread into an 8 x 8-inch pan. Top with Parmesan and toasted breadcrumbs.