Sicilian Pasta and Cauliflower Gratin (Gratin di Mezze Maniche al Cavolfiore)

DSC03630
Viaggiando con Bea is one of the Italian blogs that I follow to get inspiration and feedback on my Italian recipes directly from the source. A while ago she published a recipe for a Sicilian side dish with cauliflower called Cavolfiore affucatu. I served it as a pasta dish instead, and when I told Bea she said that she prefers to prepare pasta with cauliflower in a different way. I asked her how, and that is how today’s recipe came about.

It is very Sicilian with besides pasta and cauliflower all the usual suspects as ingredients: pine kernels, raisins, breadcrumbs, anchovies, and Sicilian pecorino. The pasta shape used for this is called mezze maniche rigate,  or half ribbed sleeves. Except for a small difference in size they are identical to mezzi rigatoni. If you can’t find either of them, penne rigate will also do the trick.

I don’t make pasta gratin often, so this was very nice for a change. This is yet another tasty pasta dish that is easy to prepare. Here’s what I did, inspired by Bea’s suggestion.

Ingredients

DSC03600
For 2 servings

150 grams (.33 lb) mezze maniche rigate

400 grams (.9 lb) cauliflower florets

6 anchovy fillets, minced

2 Tbsp pine kernels

2 Tbsp raisins, soaked in warm water

1 onion, thinly sliced

2 Tbsp breadcrumbs

3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

salt

freshly grated pecorino cheese, preferably Sicilian

Preparation

DSC03603
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a frying pan and add the onion. Sauté for 10 minutes over medium heat until golden.

DSC03605
Add half the anchovies…

DSC03606
…as well as the pine kernels and drained raisins. Stir for a minute.

DSC03608
Now add the cauliflower florets and stir again for a minute.

DSC03609
Add a ladle of the pasta cooking water.

DSC03610
Cover the pan and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the cauliflower is barely cooked.

DSC03602
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook a few minutes less than indicated for al dente.

DSC03611
Drain the pasta.

DSC03612
Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a non-stick pan and add the breadcrumbs as well as the remaining anchovies. Stir over medium heat until the breadcrumbs are golden.

DSC03614
Stir the cauliflower now and then and add more of the pasta cooking water if needed.

DSC03616
When the cauliflower is barely cooked, add the pasta.

DSC03617
Stir and allow the flavors to blend for a minute. Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF.

DSC03620
Lightly grease an oven proof dish (or individual oven proof plates) and arrange the pasta mixture in the dish.

DSC03621
Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs.

DSC03625
Cover with a nice layer of freshly grated pecorino.

DSC03628
Bake in the oven just until the cheese has melted, about 3 minutes.

DSC03630
Allow to rest for a minute or so before serving.

Advertisements

10 thoughts on “Sicilian Pasta and Cauliflower Gratin (Gratin di Mezze Maniche al Cavolfiore)

  1. This looks so comforting, especially with the cauliflower, mezze maniche rigate pasta and oozing, melted cheese. The anchovies definitely speak to me, and raisins are something I didn’t realize was Sicilian. The touch of sweetness must be a lovely contrast to the salty cheese and “umami” anchovies. More beautiful photos and a well-prepared recipe for your blog!

    Like

  2. I never thought of quick baking pasta right into the serving plates, and I find that really convenient and smart and reminds of one thing I’ve have yet to try is to warm up the plates in the oven as you so many times have suggested and i have so many times forgotten to do 🙂 thanks Stefan! and by the way, anchovies and cauliflower is an amazing pairing!

    Like

  3. Do lik ethis approach and shall surely copy during the week to come!! Have all ingredients so it is just a matter of meal and method 🙂 !

    Like

    1. I must say I love some of your ‘conversations’ being in Italian!! Since one knows the ‘topic’ if just a semblance of the language is available [as me with Italian – occasional trips to ‘Dante Alighieri’ when possible!!!] one has such fun learning just a few more words each time 🙂 !

      Like

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s