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Spaghetti with Cauliflower

Cauliflower (cavolfiore) is a vegetable that is greatly admired.  It is a familiar ingredient in frittata, Sicilian pickled salad, in soup and in this pasta dish where the clever technique of cooking the cauliflower with the pasta not only saves time but adds flavor.  Whole wheat spaghetti bumps up the nutritional value of this dish.   Serves 6 to 8


1 medium head cauliflower

3 tablespoons plus 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 cup toasted bread crumbs

2 cloves garlic, minced

1-1/2 teaspoons crushed dried red pepper flakes or hot red pepper paste

1 tablespoon anchovy paste

1 pound whole wheat spaghetti

Coarsely ground black pepper 

1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese


Remove the leaves and core of the cauliflower and cut the head into small uniform florets.  Set aside.

In a sauté pan, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil and brown the bread crumbs.  Transfer them to a bowl and set aside.

In the same pan, heat the remaining 2/3 cup olive oil.  Add the garlic and cook until the garlic is soft.  Stir in the pepper flakes or paste and cook for 1 minute.  Stir in the anchovy paste and 1 teaspoon black pepper and cook for 1 minute longer.  Keep the sauce warm over very low heat.

Cook the cauliflower with the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling water until the cauliflower is crisp-tender and the pasta is al dente.  Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

Lightly grease a serving platter with olive oil.  Transfer the spaghetti and cauliflower to the platter and toss to coat with the oil.

Add the reserved cooking water to the sauce and stir to blend.  Reheat slowly until the sauce is hot and pour over the spaghetti and cauliflower and toss well.  Sprinkle with the cheese, black pepper to taste and the breadcrumbs.

This recipe is featured on show 2824 – All about Cauliflower.


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