My favorite way of preparing cauliflower is slow roasting it. This gives the cauliflower great depth of flavor that is so much more tasty than steamed or boiled cauliflower. Cauliflower can be roasted quickly in half an hour at 225C/440F. Slow roasting for 1.5 to 2 hours at 160C/325F takes longer, but you will be rewarded with a lot more flavor.
The inspiration for this pasta came from Paola’s Il Gusto Di Non Sprecare. She dresses a plate of pasta and cauliflower with pine nuts, sautéed breadcrumbs, anchovies, chilli flakes, and extra virgin olive oil. Her intention was to use up leftover boiled cauliflower, but I changed that to slow-roasted cauliflower. The cauliflower can be slow-roasted the night before. It doesn’t take a lot of attention, but it does take a while and definitely too long if you are already hungry when you start cooking.
To slow roast the caulifower, break it up into small florets, toss those with olive oil and salt, and roast them in a single layer at 160C/325F (not fan forced) or 150C/300F (fan forced) until deeply browned, about 1.5 to 2 hours, stirring every half hour or so to ensure even cooking. The cauliflower will reduce a lot when cooked like that, so you will need a whole small cauliflower for 2 servings or a large one for 4 servings.
If you have already roasted the cauliflower, preparing this tasty dish will take only as long as it takes to boil the pasta.
For 2 servings
slow roasted cauliflower
200 grams (.44 lb) short pasta, such as penne
2 Tbsp pine nuts
4 Tbsp bread crumbs from stale bread
2 anchovy fillets, minced
1 tsp chilli flakes, or to taste
extra virgin olive oil
Bring a pot of water to a boil for the pasta. When the water boils, add salt and the pasta. Set the timer for the time indicated on the package for al dente.
In the meantime, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan. Add the pine kernels and breadcrumbs.
Stir over medium heat until the pine kernels and bread crumbs are nicely golden but not too dark. Turn off the heat.
Allow the excess oil to drain from the pine kernels and breadcrumbs on kitchen paper. Wipe the pan with kitchen paper.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the frying pan over medium heat. Add the minced anchovies and chilli flakes.
Stir over low heat until the anchovies have melted.
Add the cauliflower, and cook over low to medium heat, stirring regularly, until the cauliflower has warmed through and is well mixed with the chilli and anchovies.
When the pasta is al dente, drain it and add it to the cauliflower.
Add half of the breadcrumbs and pine nuts.
Toss to mix.
Serve on preheated plates, sprinkled with the remaining breadcrumbs and pine nuts.
Anatra in salsa is one of my favorite ways to serve duck. The ‘sauce’ is made with salami, pancetta, anchovies, garlic, sage, rosemary, and vinegar, and the dish is completed with oven-roasted radicchio.