Pasta con Cavolfliore e Pangrattato (Pasta with Cauliflower and Breadcrumbs)

Snowy, snowy day here in Pennsylvania! Blizzard conditions with over a foot of snow outside! Hmmm, what to make for lunch to hold me over until I can sneak outside to make snow angels??  After spying a head of cauliflower in the fridge, I decided to try my hand at a Sicilian recipe of Pasta con Cavolfiore e Pangrattato (Pasta with Cauliflower and Breadcrumbs).  Now this dish may sound a bit bland but boy does cauliflower truly shine when paired with pasta! The cauliflower takes on a tender creaminess that works beautifully with the crunch of the sautéed breadcrumbs. I even had 2 bowls of this….wow, what a way to make the cauliflower sparkle—yummmmmy! (My snow angels might now be a size larger!) So give this one a whirl – you are in for an unexpected treat!

Pasta con Cavolfiore e Pangrattato (Pasta with Cauliflower and Breadcrumbs)


1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets

1 pound of pasta (use short pasta like fusilli or penne)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

6 anchovy fillets, in oil

Pinch of red pepper flakes

1 cup of pasta water (reserved)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/3 cup of breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

Salt and freshly ground pepper


1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt and return to boil.  Cook the cauliflower florets in the salted water until tender – about 5 minutes.

2. Remove the cauliflower from the water, reserve the pasta water to cook the pasta. Place the cauliflower in an ice bath to stop the cooking. Once cold, cut into bite-sized pieces and set aside.

3. In the meantime,  bring the water back to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water. Drain pasta.

4. While the pasta is boiling, heat a large skillet over medium-heat.  Add olive oil. Saute chopped garlic in the oil until lightly browned. Add the anchovies and pinch of red pepper flakes. Saute until anchovies are disolved.

5.  Add the cauliflower pieces and cook for a few minutes until the cauliflower is warm and coated with the sauce. 

6. Combine the pasta, cauliflower sauce and 1 cup of the pasta water in the pot and stir to mix until the pasta water is absorbed.

7. In a very small saute pan over medium heat, warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the breadcrumbs and stir to coat with the olive oil.  Add in the chopped parsley and salt and pepper to taste.  Saute until toasted and brown in color. Sprinkle half of the sauteed breadcrumbs over the pasta.

8. To serve, plate pasta and sprinkle with remaining toasted breadcrumbs……enjoy!!

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  1. It was perfect for dinner last night Michele. I had not had the chance to cook for week, getting the gallery ready, so it was an easy way to get back into the swing of cooking.

    1. Grazie, grazie…Great to hear, my friend! Love this dish! Been following the gallery online…wish I could have been there for the opening! Much continued success!! (‘In bocca al lupo’!) /m

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