I realize I have many cauliflower recipes and am happy to add yet another. Such a humble, unpretentious vegetable, the cauliflower, where the repertoire of flavor combinations is endless. Yet again, this Sicilian-style recipe is a must.
12 oz bucatini pasta or a one of your choice
1 small cauliflower,cut into florets
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp raisins, soaked in warm water for 20 mins, drained
1 tbsp pine nuts, lightly toasted in a dry pan
2 salted anchovies, soaked in water for 1 hour,drained
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 tomato, finely chopped
A good pinch of saffron strands (soaked in 1 tbsp warm water)
Approx 10 basil leaves, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
To serve: Freshly grated pecorino cheese Toasted breadcrumbs (optional)
Fill a large (approx. 6 litre) heavy bottomed saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Add approx. 1 tbsp of salt.
Add the cauliflower to the boiling water and cook for a few minutes (they should still be crunchy). Drain the cauliflower and reserve the cooking water.
Add the olive oil to the pan and gently fry the garlic and finely chopped anchovies, till the anchovies have melted and the garlic is soft.
Next add the tomatoes, pine nuts, raisins and saffron.
Cook the mixture over a medium heat, stirring regularly, for about 5-6 mins.
Add the drained cauliflower to the pan and season with salt and black pepper.
Cover and cook (medium heat) for a further 5 mins, adding a couple of tablespoons of the cauliflower water occasionally, to stop the mixture from sticking.
Reduce the heat, then remove the lid and continue cooking while you prepare the pasta (stir the cauliflower regularly).
Using the cauliflower water, cook the pasta so it’s a little undercooked (a little harder than “al dente”).
Drain,leaving a little water clinging to the pasta, then add to the sauce. Mix well, then cover and cook over a low heat for a couple of minutes, or until pasta is completely cooked.
Finally add the chopped basil leaves and stir. 1
Toss the finished pasta with a little extra olive oil and serve with some grated pecorino.
You can also serve this pasta dish topped with some fried breadcrumbs instead of the cheese.