Pasta with Cauliflower (aka Pasta coi Broccoli)

by giuseppetaibi on June 10, 2009

in community,Olive Oil Recipes

ella-pastaMy daughter, Ella, just contributed one of our favorite family recipes to her preschool’s annual cookbook. One of the secrets to this delicious but simple dish is to keep the water used for boiling the cauliflower for cooking the pasta.  For those who might be scared off by the sometimes fishy flavor of anchovies, you will be pleasantly surprised by this delightful dish.


  • 16 oz. of bucatini pasta (you can substitute spaghetti if you can’t find bucatini)
  • 1 cauliflower cut into florets
  • 4 anchovy fillets
  • 2 oz. tomato puree
  • 4 oz. raisins and pine nuts
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons of finely chopped Italian parsley (much better taste than regular parsley)
  • the cauliflower cooking water
  • 6 oz. of Olio Taibi Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cooking Instructions:

Soak raisins in hot water to plump. Wash and cut the cauliflower into florets, then boil in a pot. Using a strainer, drain and reserve the cooking water. In a saucepan, brown the onion and the anchovy fillets in the oil. Add the raisins, pine nuts, tomato puree and the boiled cauliflower.  Pour in a few ladles of the cauliflower cooking water and cook, mashing the cauliflower with a wooden spoon until creamy. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook the pasta for about 8 minutes in the the cauliflower water. Drain and mix with the cauliflower sauce and half the parsley. Leave to rest for a while and serve warm. Sprinkle the other half of the parsley on top of each portion right before serving.

Variation: use powdered saffron in place of the tomato puree.

Curious note: in Sicily, the name of this recipe is “Pasta coi broccoli”. In fact, we refer to cauliflower as “broccoli” and we refer to broccoli as “sparacello”.

 Enjoy this super-short video snippet from “Il Commissario Montalbano” tv series (in Italian), where the Sicilian inspector is annoyed by receiving a phone call while he is enjoying his “pasta coi broccoli”.


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