Baked Shells and Cauliflower - Roasted Cauliflower is combined with shells, mixed with capers, garlic, lime zest, cheese, and seasoning. And finally, baked with some Panko Breadcrumbs and melted butter on top. And, that's not it. Within each layer, there is a layer of ricotta! Isn't that really amazing? This is undoubtedly the best Cauliflower Recipe ever!
I know you can imagine how awesome this tastes. Roasted Cauliflower when combined with cooked shells and seasoned with all sorts of seasoning, the result is simply outstanding. Have you tried my other Roasted Cauliflower recipes such as Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower and Black Bean Tacos, Crispy Roasted Cauliflower Tacos with Chipotle Romesco, Cheesy Roasted Cauliflower and Garlic Soup
I love a cauliflower recipe that involves cheese. Yes, you can call it unhealthy. But, that's the truth. I love how cheese and cauliflower along with seasoning create magic. On top of that when you have pasta that is equally satisfying and comforting such as these medium shells then that makes your day.
I personally love these medium shells because they retain the creaminess of the sauce. In fact, they hold on to the flavors much longer than something like Fettucine would do. Besides shells, if there is some other pasta which I think holds the flavor then it is farfalle. I have avoided giant shell pasta because it feels empty and you'd need something to fill it with. In my opinion, these medium shells work really well.
My idea of making shells and Cauliflower is inspired by Ina Garten. Last week I saw her making Crusty Baked Shells and Cauliflower on Food Network's YouTube Channel. And, that's how I thought about trying it at home.
So, I have made a few changes to her original recipe and I hope you guys will like it.
Ingredients Needed to Make Baked Shells and Cauliflower
- Cauliflower: I prefer a large head of cauliflower. I look for something around 2 pounds.
- Shells: I love how shell pasta holds in all of the seasonings. And, therefore it is very important to choose the right kind of pasta.
- Capers: Capers bring a nice saltiness and a vinegary taste to the recipe.
- Garlic - I prefer minced garlic. You can also add crushed garlic.
- Lime Juice and Lime Zest - Just to add that little freshness I love adding some Lime Juice and Lime Zest.
- Crushed Red Pepper Flakes - Just so that it doesn't taste bland, I love red pepper flakes.
- Cheese - You can use Italian fontina cheese. But, I love my good 'ol cheddar cheese and mozzarella cheese.
- Panko Breadcrumbs - Panko Breadcrumbs adds a nice crusty layer on the shells
- Parsley - Some freshly chopped Parsley adds that beautiful color and freshness to the recipe.
- Melted Butter - Lastly some Melted Butter adds that creamy touch to the recipe.
How To Make Baked Shells and Cauliflower
- Roast Cauliflower: Just heat a pan with some oil and roast your cauliflower florets.
- Cook Shells: In the meantime cook shells as per package directions.
- Make Pasta Mixture: Now just combine shells with roasted cauliflower. Add seasoning, Capers, Garlic, Lime zest, Lime Juice, crushed red pepper flakes, and cheese. Mix well.
- Make Panko Mixture: In a bowl combine Melted butter with chopped parsley and panko breadcrumbs. Stir well to combine. Sprinkle this on your pasta mixture.
- Bake: Bake and then enjoy.
How to Make This Ahead of time?
You can easily make this ahead of time. In fact, I love to prepare this a day before and wrap it with plastic wrap or cling wrap. Then refrigerate this the entire night. When you are ready to serve just bake it in the oven and serve right away.
Other recipes you can make:
- Crispy Cauliflower Tinga Tacos
- Buffalo Cauliflower Burrito
- Keto Cauliflower Rice and Chicken Casserole
- Korean Cauliflower Wings Recipe (BAKED)
- Sesame Cauliflower in Air Fryer
- Buffalo Cauliflower Tacos in Air Fryer
If you are making this recipe, then please leave a rating below. Also, take a snap and share it on Instagram with #recipemagik. Tag me @recipemagik so that I can see how it turned out.
Baked Shells and Cauliflower Recipe
- 2 Pound Cauliflower cut into 1-inch small florets
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
- ¾ Pound Shells Medium Shells such as Barilla
For Pasta Mixture
- 3 Tablespoon Parsley freshly chopped
- 2 Tablespoon Capers
- 1 Tablespoon Garlic minced
- ½ Teaspoon Lime Zest grated
- ½ Teaspoon Lime Juice
- ¼ Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
- 1 Cup shredded Mozzarella Cheese
- 1 Cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
- 1 Cup Ricotta
- Salt and pepper as per taste
- ½ Cup Panko Breadcrumbs (aka Japanese Bread Flakes)
- 2 Tablespoon Parsley chopped
- 1 Stick Butter melted
- Preheat Oven to 400F
- In a large sauté pan heat some Olive Oil. As the oil gets hot, add cauliflower cut into small 1-inch florets. Season with Salt and Pepper. Sauté cauliflower on medium-high heat until you see light brown marks on all sides of the cauliflower florets. Do it in batches. This takes approximately 5-6 minutes. Take it out in a large bowl. Now add the remaining batch of cauliflower and repeat the steps.
- In a large pot boil some saltwater. As the water comes to a boil add shells and cook it until al dente or as per package directions.Once done, strain the water and add it to your bowl of roasted cauliflower.
- Into this add chopped cilantro, capers, minced garlic, lime juice, and lime zest, Red Chili Flakes, Salt, and Pepper.
- Into this add shredded Mozzarella Cheese and some shredded Cheddar Cheese. Stir well to combine. Place half of the filling in a large baking dish.
- Now spoon big dollops of ricotta cheese and do not spread it out. Finally, spoon the remaining pasta mixture on top.
- In a small bowl combine melted butter with Panko Breadcrumbs and chopped parsley. Sprinkle this parsley mixture on the pasta. Bake this for approximately 25-30 minutes. Once done, serve right away.
- Assemble everything and place it in a baking dish. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Bake right before serving.