This is another sauce in the olive oil and garlic family. It’s similar to a dish made with broccoli rabe, which is sort of a wild cousin to broccoli, but cauliflower is a bit denser and harder to overcook. In fact, it’s even better when it’s a bit caramelized.
Though orrechiette (little ears) is the traditional pasta, this sauce also works on a tubular pasta such penne.
What you need
cauliflower, one head
crushed red pepper (optional)
How you make it
- Coat the bottom of a pan with a generous amount of olive oil.
- Add in one or two chopped cloves of garlic along with some chopped anchovy. How much anchovy? More or less according to taste—at least half a filet, maybe as many as three. Believe me, anchovy and cauliflower is a match made in heaven, so you really can’t overdo it.
- Add a pinch of oregano and black pepper.
- Simmer for a minute or so—just until the anchovy starts to dissolve.
- Add in a head of cauliflower—you can chop it or break it apart with your hands.
- Sauté over high heat—let the cauliflower get a bit brown.
- Remove from heat, and stir in a small spoonful of rinsed capers and maybe some chopped scallions.
- Meanwhile, cook the orrechiette in a pot of salted water. Be careful not to overcook it.
- When the pasta is still a bit firm, drain and transfer to the saucepan, adding a bit of the cooking water.
- Stir and simmer for another minute or so, then top with the toasted breadcrumbs and some crushed red pepper, as desired. A bit of chopped parsley is also good, if you have it.
I usually serve this along with some olives, fontina cheese, and tiny pickles. It’s also exceptionally good with some garlic bread.