This dish came about as a consequence of the Your Italian Grandma cooking practice of preparing a weekly pantry item or two on one day and using them in meals during the week. I saw big beautiful red bell peppers in the market last Friday and spent part of the day roasting them in the oven (400 degrees), letting them cool and peeling off their charred skins. Then I gathered them together making sure to discard the seeds and remains of the spines and mixed them with a crushed garlic clove, some capers , some olive pieces, and my good extra-virgin olive oil. They keep refrigerated for about 6 days. I use them in many different ways. For this dish, I also had some asparagus I had just bought, and half a head of cauliflower left over from some curry I had made for my Indian wife. This kind of meal is all in the timing.
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 head of cauliflower cut in bite size pieces
6 stalks of asparagus, sliced
3 or 4 pieces of roasted peppers cut in medium size sections
Grated peccorino romano cheese
Bring a pot of water to the boil, and salt it liberally. Put the cauliflower in the pot of boiling water and let it boil for about 2 minutes
Meanwhile, start your skillet with 3 tbs. of extra virgin olive oil. When it is hot, add the garlic (right after you add the cauliflower to the water) Add some hot pepper flakes to the oil and cook the garlic and pepper making sure the garlic does not burn. After two minutes, use a slotted spoon to remove the cauliflower from the water and add it (carefully) to the skillet. As you cook it, you will add pasta water to the skillet as you need it to keep the cauliflower and garlic from becoming too "tight" or dry in the skillet.
Next, put the asparagus and the pasta in the boiling water. I used a fresh pasta which resembled a radditore style which I thought would look great with the clumps of cauliflower. Both the fresh pasta and the asparagus need about 6 minutes in the water, then they too should be added to the skillet for the magic moment when the cauliflower and asparagus cease to become separate from the pasta , but all come together. (about one minute longer) Off the heat, I added some of my best finishing olive oil, the roasted peppers and the grated cheese. It looked and tasted great!