Sicilian-style Cauliflower with Wholemeal Pasta

Sicilian-style Cauliflower with Wholemeal Pasta

Serves: to serve 4 - 6

Prep Time: 15 Minutes

Cook Time: 30 Minutes

Ready In: 45 mins

12 oz - wholemeal penne

  - salt and freshly-ground black pepper

  - extra virgin olive oil

1 lb - cauliflower

1 large - shallot

2 cloves - garlic

¼ pint - water

2¼ fl oz - white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons - sultanas

1 tablespoon - honey

1 tablespoon - capers

1 sprig - fresh thyme

1 - bay leaf

2 teaspoons - fennel seeds (optional)

4 tablespoons - pine nuts

4 tablespoons - fresh flat-leaf parsley

2 tablespoons - Pecorino Romano cheese

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat, then salt it generously. Add the penne and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until al dente - tender but not soggy. Drain and set aside in a large serving bowl.
  2. Cut the cauliflower into florets about ¾" (2cm) large. Peel the shallot and slice into thin rings. Peel and crush (mince) the garlic and lightly toast the pine nuts. Chop the parsley.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan (skillet) over a medium-high heat. Add the cauliflower florets, the shallot rings and the crushed garlic. Cook, stirring, until the cauliflower is well browned (about 7-8 minutes). Reduce the heat to medium, add 2 more tablespoons of olive oil, 2 teaspoons of salt, the water and the white wine vinegar.
  4. Stir well, then add the sultanas, honey, capers, thyme, bay leaf, fennel seeds (optional), and season generously with freshly-ground black pepper. Bring the contents of the pan to a simmer, cover, and cook until the cauliflower is fork tender (again, about 7-8 minutes). Remove from the heat and add the toasted pine nuts and chopped parsley. (Don't forget to remove and discard the thyme and the bay leaf.)
  5. Toss the vegetable mix and the pasta together in the serving bowl. Grate the Pecorino Romano and sprinkle it over the contents of the bowl. Drizzle the whole mixture with additional olive oil if desired, then serve immediately.