Simple ingredients—chewy, charred cauliflower, fried capers and bread crumbs, and browned butter, bolstered by whole grain mustard—combine for the ultimate late-winter pasta.
1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets, stems minced
3⁄4 cup olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1⁄3 cup large capers, drained
3⁄4 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs
1 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
10 tbsp. unsalted butter
1⁄2 cup whole grain mustard
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. pappardelle pasta
1⁄4 cup roughly chopped parsley
Heat oven broiler. Toss cauliflower florets with 2 tbsp. oil, salt, and pepper on a baking sheet; broil until charred and tender, 8–10 minutes. Heat 1⁄3 cup oil in a 14″ high-sided skillet over medium-high. Cook capers until crisp, 6–8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer capers to paper towels to drain. Cook bread crumbs and chile flakes until crisp, 3–4 minutes; transfer to a plate. Wipe skillet clean and melt butter over medium; cook until butter is a deep golden brown, 6–8 minutes. Stir in mustard, salt, and pepper; transfer to a bowl. Add remaining oil to skillet; heat over medium-high. Cook cauliflower stems, garlic, salt, and pepper until golden, 6–8 minutes. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain pasta; add to skillet with half the reserved bread crumbs, all the mustard butter, and half the parsley; toss. Top with reserved florets; garnish with reserved capers and the remaining bread crumbs and parsley.