Creamy Caulifower Pasta

1 medium cauliflower (about 2 lbs.)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium white onion, cut into 1/4-in. dice
3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
Maldon or other flaky sea salt
6 tbs. unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
Kosher salt
1 lb. pennette
¼ C Hoppin Hot Sauce
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus extra for serving
1/2 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs, sautéed in 1 tbs. olive oil until golden brown
Cut cauliflower in 1/2. Remove leaves and cut out core and reserve. Cut cauliflower into small bite-size florets, reserving stalks. Chop core, leaves, and stalks.
1. Combine oil, onion, garlic, and cauliflower core, leaves, and stalks in large pot, season with sea salt, and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until leaves are just beginning to wilt, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, until leaves are just tender, 18 to 20 minutes.
2. Add cauliflower florets, red pepper flakes, and 1 cup water and bring to simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to gentle simmer, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is almost falling apart, 22 to 25 minutes. Add butter, stirring gently until it melts; season well with sea salt. Remove from heat.
3. Bring 6 quarts water to boil in large pot and add 3 tbs. kosher salt. Drop in pasta and cook until just al dente
4. Drain pasta, Add pasta and ¼ C hoppin hot sauce to cauliflower sauce. Toss over medium heat until pasta is well coated (add more pasta water to thin sauce). Stir in cheese.
6. Transfer pasta to serving bowl, sprinkle with bread crumbs,, and serve with additional grated cheese.
Serves 6

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