Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C) and set a rack in the upper third of the oven (do not place the rack at the highest position.) Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Lightly oil the aluminum foil.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cauliflower florets, shallots, garlic, olive oil, salt, and crushed red pepper. Spread the cauliflower mixture over the baking sheet and broil for 10 minutes, or until the cauliflower is browned in spots. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for 1 minute less than the recommended cooking time. Just before you drain the pasta, scoop out 1/2 cup (125 ml) of the pasta cooking water and set aside. Drain the pasta.
Return the pot you used to cook the pasta over medium heat. Add the pasta, the reserved pasta cooking water, and the lemon zest and juice. Toss to combine and bring to a simmer. Gradually sprinkle in the Pecorino Romano, stirring as you go to melt and incorporate the cheese. Mix in the broiled cauliflower, baby spinach, and basil. Keep cooking and stirring just until everything’s hot and the baby spinach is wilted.
SERVING: Serve hot broiled cauliflower pasta garnished with additional grated Pecorino Romano cheese and toasted almonds.
STORAGE: This broiled cauliflower pasta keeps and reheats very well. Simply store leftovers in an airtight container and reheat for about 1 minute in the microwave before serving. You can also reheat the pasta in a skillet over medium heat, adding a tablespoon or two of water to help loosen it.
MAKE IT VEGAN: Substitute ¼ cup (15 g) nutritional yeast for the Pecorino Romano cheese.
HOW TO SERVE AS A PASTA SALAD: Broil the cauliflower as indicated. Cook the pasta and skip saving the pasta water. Once the cauliflower and pasta are done, transfer to a large bowl and let cool completely. Once cool, mix in an extra 2 tbsp (30 ml) extra-virgin olive, then add in the lemon zest and juice, grated pecorino romano, baby spinach, and fresh basil. Season with freshly ground black pepper, toss to combine, and serve, or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 days. I highly recommend bringing the pasta salad back to room temperature at least 1 hour before serving.
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