Is it Spring yet? I want to say yes, but I keep going outside in light jackets and freezing all day long. It’s also that time of year when I feel like I can’t even look at another bowl of soup or stew, but all the spring goodies, like rhubarb, asparagus, and fresh peas aren’t quite in season yet. So while I wait for Spring to arrive, I’ll be inside making Roasted Cauliflower with Hazelnut Pesto.
I think it’s the perfect transition-month vegetable side. Cauliflower is still everywhere, and homemade pesto gives plain roasted cauliflower more of a “spring” in its step. Since we are light years away from basil season, making pesto with flat leaf parsley felt more seasonally appropriate, and I used hazelnuts instead of pine nuts, because cauliflower and hazelnuts together are the best.
After the pesto is finished, I like to add another handful of hazelnuts to the food processor so there are big chunks throughout. You don’t have to do this if you prefer a smoother pesto, but I love added crunch of hazelnuts. Depending on how generously you douse your cauliflower, you may have some pesto leftover. I highly recommend doing as my friends Louisa and Franklin did, and spreading any extra on toast and putting a fried egg on top.
Roasted Cauliflower with Hazelnut Pesto
- 1 medium head cauliflower, core removed and cut into bite size florets
- extra virgin olive oil
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup plus 2 tbs hazelnuts
- 1 tsp chopped garlic, (1 small clove)
- 2/3 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- 5 tbs grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Place the cauliflower in one layer on a sheet pan. Toss with 3 tablespoons olive oil, 3/4 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until the cauliflower is caramelized, tossing twice during baking.
- Meanwhile, make the pesto. Place 1/3 cup of the hazelnuts, the garlic, the parsley, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process until the mixture forms a thick paste, about 1 minute. Add the cheese and pulse until combined. With the food processor running, slowly pour in the olive oil. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons hazelnuts and pulse until hazelnuts are roughly chopped.
- Spread pesto on a serving platter and spoon the cauliflower on top. Serve hot.