Pic of Spicy cauliflower pasta with sultanas, pine nuts and lemon

Spicy cauliflower pasta with sultanas, pine nuts and lemon

Show ingredients

Vegetarian mains

Spicy cauliflower pasta with sultanas, pine nuts and lemon

Main Serves 2 25 min
Tangy lemon, spicy chilli, crunchy pine nuts and sweet sultanas come together beautifully in this version of a traditional Sicilian dish.

Cook's notes

Add all the chilli or just a little, depending on your preference for heat. If you have time, soak your sultanas in a little hot water for 20 minutes before use; this will plump them up for extra juiciness.


  • 1 cauliflower
  • 1 large or 2 small garlic cloves
  • 50g salad leaves
  • 30g parsley
  • 1 lemon
  • 40g pine nuts
  • 200g spelt fusilli
  • oil for frying, e.g. sunflower or light olive
  • ¼ tsp dried chilli flakes – add to taste
  • 50g sultanas
  • good olive oil
  • 25g Italian style cheese, grated
  • salt and pepper
Image of Spicy cauliflower pasta with sultanas, pine nuts and lemon


Prep time: 5 min
Cooking time: 20 min
  • Step 1

    Put a large pan of salted water on to boil. While the water heats up, cut the cauliflower into even, bite-sized florets. Peel and finely chop, crush, or grate the garlic. Wash the salad leaves and parsley. Pat the parsley dry with kitchen paper or a clean cloth. Finely chop the leaves. Finely zest and juice the lemon.
  • Step 2

    Put the pine nuts into a dry frying pan. Lightly heat the pan, stirring the pine nuts, until they are golden. Transfer to a small plate/bowl to prevent them cooking further in the pan; they can catch and burn quite quickly. Once the water comes to the boil, add the cauliflower and cook for 3 minutes.
  • Step 3

    Get a bowl of cold water ready in the meantime. Remove the cauli with a slotted spoon, keeping the water boiling in the pan. Refresh the cauliflower in the bowl of cold water to cool and stop it cooking, then drain again. Add the pasta to the same pan of boiling water and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Step 4

    After 2 minutes, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan (keep the pasta cooking, it will take another 6 minutes). Add the cauliflower and fry, stirring now and then, until just starting to turn golden, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and some or all of the dried chilli flakes, depending on your preference for heat. Fry for 2 minutes, stirring. Add the pine nuts, sultanas and ½ the lemon zest.
  • Step 5

    Squeeze in quarter of the lemon juice. Season and toss together. Taste and add more lemon juice, zest or seasoning as needed. Remove from the heat. Drain the pasta, reserving a little cooking water. Add the pasta to the cauliflower, with half the chopped parsley. Toss to combine and add a splash of cooking water, if you like, to make a sauce.
  • Step 6

    Transfer to serving bowls. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Sprinkle over the remaining parsley and the Italian cheese. Serve with the salad leaves, tossed in a little good olive oil or vinaigrette if you like.

You may also like…