Pasta is one of my favorite things and one of the easiest recipes to cook during a busy week or a lazy weekend. It is any home cook’s pantry staple friend. As a rule of thumb I always have dry pasta in my pantry. It is a very versatile ingredient. Add anything you have on hand; sometimes I just add butter and Parmesan cheese and my family loves it. And dinner is served. This recipe of pasta with cauliflower and anchovies is both healthy and delightfully tasty. The added garlic, capers and tomatoes add a fresh touch to the point that the dish can be eaten cold too.
Anchovies which is obviously a main ingredient for this dish works well with the neutral taste of the cauliflower giving it character; the end result is a dish that is super easy to make with ingredients that are versatile and interesting.
Add the tomatoes at the end to keep their shape and keep their bright color. Use fresh-tasting olive oil and the freshest garlic you can find. And lastly, the cauliflower, fresh from the green local market if you can, this is your best bet; and, if they are in season then so much better.
To complete the dish serve it with a drizzle of extra olive oil, some fresh minced parsley and for some extra flavor and a little bit of heat, add a little bit of red pepper flakes or a little bit of minced chili.
- 1 lb. dry short pasta (I used conchigliette)
- 1 head cauliflower
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons capers
- 1 can of anchovies
- 2 cups of grape or cherry tomatoes (blanched)
- Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- Parsley, finely chopped
- Extra virgin olive oil to drizzle
- Red pepper flakes
Blanch the cauliflower and tomatoes.
Rinse the cauliflower and tomatoes under cool, running water to remove any traces of dirt. Cut off the cauliflower florets and reserve.
In a big pot boil the water (water should cover the cauliflower). Adding salt is optional. Add the cauliflower to the boiling water and cook for about 3 minutes. Use the same water to blanch the tomatoes. While the water boils prepare an ice bath.
If you do not have ice, cold water will do the job. The idea of the cold water is to stop the cooking process immediately. The cauliflower should be firm and its color should stay vibrant. The same concept goes for the tomatoes. Once done submerge the cauliflower and tomatoes if done at the same time in the ice bath. Place the hot cauliflower florets and tomatoes into the ice bath. Drain the cauliflower throughout. Peel and diced the tomatoes and reserve.
Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons salt and return to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package direction, until tender but still al dente.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until tender or until garlic aromatize oil. Add capers and anchovies and cook for a few minutes. Add the cauliflower florets and cook for a few minutes more until the sauce have coated the cauliflower. Drain pasta and add to skillet. Toss gently to coat pasta with sauce; season with fresh ground black pepper. Turn off the heat and add tomatoes, parsley and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve hot or cold.
This post is also available in: Spanish