We created this simple, rich, and creamy pasta dish out of a desire to show a non-vegan friend that she could still enjoy cheese while no longer eating dairy. This friend of ours is a self-avowed cheese lover. We invited her over for lunch so she could have love time with Riley and Charlie, but also to show her how amazing vegan cheese is. In addition to the amazing vegan cheese spread Ethan prepared for appetizers, I wanted to incorporate cheese into the main meal as well. I came up with this recipe for Rigatoni with Roasted Cauliflower on the fly and she loved it. This dish is super easy to make and non-vegans will be amazed at how creamy it is.
Although I used Miyoko’s Artisan Vegan Cultured Nut Products (or vegan cheese to you and me) Double Cream Sundried Tomato Garlic, you can use any soft, spreadable vegan cheese that you like for this dish. And if you want to know why this is a “cultured nut product” and not cheese, you can thank the laws of California. You can read more here.
1 large cauliflower, cut into bite size florets
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
1 16 ounce box rigatoni
1 6.5 ounce package Miyoko’s Double Cream Sundried Tomato Garlic
12 leaves of fresh basil, finely chopped
1. Preheat oven to 420F. Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside.
2. Place the cauliflower in a large mixing bowl. Add the oil to the cauliflower and toss to make sure all the florets are coated. Transfer the cauliflower to the prepared baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and nutritional yeast. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until tender and starting to brown slightly.
3. While the cauliflower is heating, bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook the rigatoni in the boiling water for 12-15 minutes, or until al dente. Drain the rigatoni, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Return the rigatoni to the pot and add the cheese and mix well. Keep mixing until the cheese is completely melted. Add a little of the reserved cooking water to help loosen up the pasta. Fold in the cauliflower and basil.
4. Transfer to a large serving bowl.