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Moroccan Orecchiette with Cauliflower and Meatballs

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Main Dish
Author: Coco Morante


  • 1 medium-sized green cauliflower
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1 jumbo egg
  • juice of 1 Meyer lemon divided
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon Ras el Hanout spice blend
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed Aleppo pepper or red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 pound orecchiette pasta
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flatleaf parsley


  • Preheat oven to 425ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Place a large pot of water on the stove over high heat.
  • Slice cauliflower into florets and place on one of the baking sheets. Sprinkle with one tablespoon of the olive oil, turmeric, salt and pepper, and toss to coat evenly.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine the ground turkey, bread crumbs, egg, half of the lemon juice, parsley and seasonings. Stir until evenly combined, then roll into 1” meatballs. Place meatballs on the remaining lined baking sheet.
  • Place the cauliflower in the oven for 30 minutes. After the first 10 minutes of cooking, place meatballs in the oven (they will cook for 20 minutes, and be finished at the same time as the cauliflower).
  • After you place the meatballs in the oven, season the pot of boiling water liberally with salt, then add the orecchiette pasta and let cook for 12 minutes, or until al dente. Drain the pasta.
  • In a large serving bowl, combine cooked pasta, meatballs, and cauliflower. Toss with remaining Meyer lemon juice, two tablespoons olive oil, and chopped parsley. Serve.