|Mineo, in the province of Catania. My grandmother's hometown.|
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
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 basil at the end, add the pasta, serve with abundant pecorino, and Buon Appetito!