Penne with Cauliflower and Caramelized Onions


Penne with Cauliflower and Caramelized Onions


  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for the pasta water
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 12 ounces penne pasta
  • 2 cups fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon, plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes


  1. Cover the raisins with 1 cup hot water in a bowl and let sit until plump, about 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, 1 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and a deep golden brown (20 to 25 minutes). Remove from the pan and set aside.
  3. Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter in the same skillet over medium heat. Add the cauliflower, ¾ cup water, 1 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper and cook, tossing occasionally, until the water is evaporated and the cauliflower is tender and turning golden brown in some spots (20 to 25 minutes).
  4. While the cauliflower cooks, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the package directions for al dente. Reserve 1 ½ cups cooking water, then drain.
  5. Add the pasta, caramelized onion, parsley, parmesan, pine nuts, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, red pepper flakes, 1 cup reserved cooking water, the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper to the skillet with the cauliflower. Cook, stirring constantly and adding more cooking water if needed, until the cheese is melted and the ingredients are well combined, 1 to 2 minutes. Gently fold in the raisins. Top the pasta with more parmesan, if desired.
  6. Serve & Enjoy!

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