Pasta al Cavolfiore

Tonight I used the rest of the cauliflower from last night to make a Sicilian classic. I’ve never made this dish before, so I consulted a few different recipes online. I also found a veganised recipe for this in my Forks Over Knives book. I tweaked it a bit so the cauliflower was made into a creamy sauce. Usually the cauliflower florets are kept whole.

Typically this dish needs six main ingredients: pasta, cauliflower, raisins, saffron, pine nuts and anchovies. Sicily was occupied by the Arabs in the 10th & 11th century, so that’s where the influence of the raisins, saffron, pine nuts come from. The raisins give a sweet taste every so often and the pine nuts, well they are just delicious as they are. Since I couldn’t use anchovies I used white miso paste. I didn’t have any saffron. It’s really expensive here, so we don’t keep it, but I don’t think it really needed it for flavour.

I pureed the cauliflower, and added cannellini beans and almond milk, to make the sauce more creamy. I wanted to be like a bechamel, to satisfy my creamly pasta cravings. It didn’t turn out as creamy as Marco would of liked, but there was enough sauce coated the pasta. Real Italian pasta dishes are usually not as saucy as we eat them in Australia. So for me it was more similar to the food I enjoyed over there. The sauce is gluten free and a great alternative to make use of cauliflower, even if you usually (like me) don’t like it.

Pasta al Cavolfiore (vegan, gluten free option, soy free)

Ingredients:

small cauliflower (about 3 cups)

500g spaghetti or other long pasta (use gluten free pasta if you prefer)

1/2 tin cannellini beans

3/4 unsweetned plant milk (I used almond, but you can also use oat or soy milk)

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 small red onions, finely diced

3 garlic cloves, finely diced

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 tablespoons white miso paste, mixed with 3 tablespoons of hot water

1/2 cup raisins

6 tablespoons nutritional yeast

sea salt & black pepper to taste

4 tablespoons pine nuts, pan toasted

2 tablespoons minced parsley

Method:

1. Take a large put and boil the cauliflower for 10 mins or till tender.

2. Remove the cauliflower and place to the side. Then cook the pasta according to packet instructions in the large pot (add salt to water). When its cooked place to the side.

3. In the meantime, place cauilflower in the processor and add 1/2 cup of almond milk and pureed. Then add cannellini beans and add 1/4 cup of almond milk.

4. In a large pan heat olive oil on medium heat, then add red onion and garlic. Cook for 10mins or until soft.

5. Add the tomato paste and cook for further 2 to 3 mins (add water if too dry).

6. Add miso and raisins and cook for 2 more minutes.

7. Add pureed cauliflower and cannellini beans to the pan and stir through.

8. Add nutritional yeast, salt & pepper and cook for 2 mins.

9. Add pasta and heat through.

10. Serve pasta with pine nuts & parsley on top.