Before the pandemic, I regularly ate at BoccaLupo. My appetizer order at this Italian-American restaurant in Inman Park was always the same: Roman-style fried cauliflower. Punchy with fried capers and slivers of lemon peel, then tossed with an abundance of olive oil and fresh mint, it was a decadent, crave-worthy plate of cruciferous vegetables.
While this dish is not on BoccaLupo’s current menu, you can easily bring the flavors of this quick dish to your home and add pasta to turn it into a full meal. Instead of frying the cauliflower and capers, roast them in a hot oven on a sheet pan in a generous amount of olive oil. A brief stint under the broiler will lightly char the florets for a hint of bittersweet flavor.
At the same time, boil and drain small, short pasta. I like to use shells, but any shape — orecchiette, rigatoni — that’ll cling to the capers and bits of cauliflower will work well. Drain the pasta, then dump it onto the sheet pan of roasted cauliflower, and stir gently. The residual heat and steam from the pasta will finish cooking the vegetables without turning them to mush. (I’m borrowing this technique from the YouTuber Adam Ragusea. You could toss everything together in a bowl, but a sheet pan is way more fun.)
The final flourishes are the same as at BoccaLupo: lemon zest, lemon juice and plenty of chopped fresh mint. Serve it straight from the sheet pan.
Sign up for the AJC Food and Dining Newsletter
Read more stories like this by liking Atlanta Restaurant Scene on Facebook, following @ATLDiningNews on Twitter and @ajcdining on Instagram.