Pic of Sicilian pasta and cauliflower

Sicilian pasta and cauliflower

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Vegetarian mains

Sicilian pasta and cauliflower

Main Serves 4 45 min
A salty-sweet classic Sicilian pasta sauce combining currants, onions and saffron with the piquancy or anchovies and nuttiness of cauliflower. You can make this fragrant vegetarian dish in half an hour so it's ideal for weeknight cooking.


  • 1 cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 2 lemon slices
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 50g currants
  • 1 tsp saffron strands
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 8 anchovy fillets, torn into small pieces
  • 50g pine nuts
  • 400g penne (or similar) pasta
  • fresh parsley, chopped
  • toasted breadcrumbs


Prep time: 5 min
Cooking time: 40 min
  • Step 1

    Cook the cauliflower in a large pan of salted water with the lemon and bay leaves for 10-15 minutes until very soft.
  • Step 2

    Meanwhile, soak the currants and the saffron separately in boiling water for 10 minutes.
  • Step 3

    Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and cook the onion slowly over a low heat.
  • Step 4

    When just beginning to brown, add the anchovies, crushing them up further with a wooden spoon as you combine them with the onions.
  • Step 5

    Stir in the pine nuts and drained currants and let them cook for a few minutes while you drain the cauliflower, reserving the cooking water. Discard the lemon and bay.
  • Step 6

    Add the cauliflower, a ladle of the cooking water and the saffron to the onion and anchovies, adding more water if necessary to make a sauce. Cook for a further 15 minutes, mashing the cauliflower to a soft, porridge-like consistency.
  • Step 7

    Use the cauliflower water to cook the pasta, adding extra boiling water if necessary. Drain the pasta and toss with the cauliflower sauce. Sprinkle liberally with parsley and toasted breadcrumbs and serve.

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