Sicilian-Style Cauliflower with Whole Wheat Pasta

July 12, 2022


Kosher salt, as needed, plus 2 teaspoons

3/4 pound whole-wheat penne

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed

5 cups 3/4-inch cauliflower florets (about 1 to 1 1/4 pounds)

1 large shallot, sliced into thin rings

2 cloves garlic, smashed

3/4 cup water

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons golden raisins

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon capers

1 sprig fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

2 teaspoons fennel seeds, optional

Freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted

3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano, plus more as needed


  1. Large saucepan of water should be salted heavily once it is brought to a boil over high heat. When the penne is al dente, or tender but not mushy, add it and simmer, stirring periodically. In a colander positioned in the sink, drain the pasta. Place in a large bowl.
  2. Over medium-high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the oil in a big skillet. Add the cauliflower, shallots, and garlic; stir-fry for about 8 minutes, or until the cauliflower is well-browned. Heat reduction to medium. Black pepper should be added along with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, 2 teaspoons of salt, water, vinegar, raisins, honey, capers, thyme, bay leaf, and fennel seeds, if using. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook cauliflower for 7 to 8 minutes or until fork tender. Pine nuts and parsley are added after the heat source is turned off. Remove and throw away the bay leaf and thyme.
  3. Add the pecorino and toss with the pasta and vegetables. If desired, drizzle with more olive oil. Pass extra cheese around the table as you serve.

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