Pesto pasta with cauliflower, burst tomatoes, and breadcrumbs recipe

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Ingredients

  • Kosher salt
  • 12 ounces gemelli or other short pasta
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) or coarse fresh breadcrumbs
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cups nextover’d Thyme-Roasted Cauliflower with Tomatoes and Garlic
  • ¾ cup pesto
  • 8 ounces small fresh mozzarella balls (ciliegine or bocconcini) or large fresh mozzarella balls, cut into ½-inch pieces
How to Make It
  1. Bring a large pot of very salty water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook until al dente.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a medium skillet set over medium heat. Add the panko and cook, stirring often, until golden, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then transfer to a paper towel–lined plate to cool.
  3. Add the cauliflower and tomatoes in a more or less single layer to that same skillet. Cook, tossing the vegetables occasionally, until they’ve warmed through and hopefully gotten some crispy edges. Keep warm over low heat until the pasta is done.
  4. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta. In the pasta pot or a serving bowl, toss the pasta with the vegetables, pesto, and mozzarella. If the pasta looks at all dry, loosen up the sauce by adding pasta cooking water 1 tablespoon at a time. Taste the pasta, adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if needed, and top with the breadcrumbs.
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