mercoledì 1 maggio 2013

Pasta with cauliflower

Mineo, in the province of Catania.  My grandmother's hometown.
One of my favorite dishes in the world, made frequently by my Sicilian grandmother, is pasta with cauliflower.

I must say, however, that the custom of cooking vegetables in boiling water and then discarding the water, as my readers already know, is one that I cannot accept.  To throw away so many vitamins, minerals, and flavors — I cannot do it!

Therefore, I changed the procedure of this recipe.  My grandmother's ingredients remain unaltered.  

The recipe belongs to the cucina povera, without any meat whatsoever.  The raisins and crushed red pepper give an almost bittersweet quality.


1 lb pasta (I used ditalini, which are easy for my little ones to eat!)
1 head cauliflower
extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, whole
800 g peeled plum tomatoes, puréed in the blender
750/1000 mL boiling water (separate from the water for the pasta— either in another pot on another burner, or in a Pyrex measuring cup in the microwave)
crushed red pepper
freshly ground black pepper
sea salt
fresh basil
pecorino from Southern Italy (NOT from Tuscany), freshly grated.  (DON'T use parmesan.)


Turn the cauliflower upside down.  Remove the green leaves.  With a knife, cut around the core — deep enough to liberate the florets.  Don't remove all of the stems of all of the florets, only the central trunk. 

In a pan, sauté the onion and garlic on medium heat, until the onion is translucent and the garlic is golden but not burnt.

Add the puréed tomatoes, raisins, crushed red pepper, and a little black pepper.

Add the water, salt, and cauliflower.

Cook for 30 minutes — first on high heat, then when the water begins to evaporate, lower to medium-high, so that the tomatoes don't burn.  The cauliflower should be neither hard nor mushy — al dente, so to speak.

Add the basil at the end, add the pasta, serve with abundant pecorino, and Buon Appetito!

6 commenti:

  1. ma in inglese si dice proprio cauliflower?
    o è uno stupendo vocabolo siculo-americano?
    comunque sia la tua pasta è buonissima! è anche uno dei miei piatti preferiti.

    1. "Cauliflower" è la parola inglese. In siciliano si dice "cavuluciuri" o "cauluciuri". :)

  2. Grazie Leonardo di esserti unito al mio blog ti seguo anch'io con piacere e' bellissimo vedere che anche se abiti lontano migliaia di Km sei legatissimo alle tue origini. Bravo e W a pasta co' cavuliciuri ^_^

  3. Sounds like just the thing for kids of all ages...

  4. ciaoooo!!!! bellissimo il tuo blog!!! mi asono aggiunta ai tuoi lettori fissi con vero piacere!!!
    bellissima la tua vita e la tua famiglia. Complimenti e teniamoci in contatto per un costruttivo scambio di "saperi" sulla buona cucina!!!!
    a presto