This is a favorite, comforting pasta dish--every bite of it takes me back to Italy. And though I'm hesitant to emphasize this, it's quite healthy, too. The secret is in finely chopped cauliflower, tomato, and a touch of saffron. Top it all with homemade toasted breadcrumbs for the completely authentic experience.
You can go directly to the printable recipe, or I'll show you how to make it step-by-step...
Here are the ingredients, which you can see are quite simple. Wait a minute... what's in that jar left of the cauliflower? Is that *gasp* anchovies? Well, yes indeed. That is the other secret ingredient. Even if you are anchovy-adverse, I encourage you to give them a go in this recipe. They are finely minced and integrated into the sauce, adding a really wonderful flavor boost.
~ Set aside the breadcrumbs to cool in the pan while we prepare the remaining mise en place. ~
...here's my mise en place all ready to go.
~ Prepare the pasta according to the procedure in Pasta 101, remembering, of course, to salt the cooking water. Turn the drained, hot pasta into the warm sauce and stir thoroughly to combine. ~
Pasta with Cauliflower
1 6-inch segment of a baguette, crust removed
1 tablespoon of olive oil
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large head cauliflower, core removed, florets finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 to 2 tablespoons minced oil-packed anchovies
A generous pinch crumbled saffron dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water
3/4 pound tube-shaped pasta
Finely chopped Italian parsley
- Tear the crustless baguette into small (about 1") pieces. Transfer the torn bread to a food processor and process until the bread is in coarse crumbs (yield should be 1 cup of fresh breadcrumbs).
- In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the fresh breadcrumbs and toast them until golden brown. Set aside.
- In a small measuring cup, combine the tomato paste and juice drained from the can of diced tomatoes (reserving the diced tomatoes).
- In a large skillet, heat 4 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped cauliflower to the skillet. Cook the cauliflower until it is softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the minced garlic and tomato paste/juice mixture to the skillet. Cover and simmer the sauce over low heat for about 10 minutes, until the cauliflower is very tender.
- To the cauliflower, add the reserved diced tomatoes, the finely diced anchovy, and the dissolved saffron.
- Simmer the sauce, uncovered, over medium heat until it thickens, about 5 minutes.
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Turn the drained, hot pasta into the warm sauce and stir thoroughly to combine.
- Serve immediately garnished with the toasted breadcrumbs and chopped parsley.
I hope you enjoyed this recipe! To view more step-by-step recipes, check out the complete recipe index.
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