Fusilli with Cauliflower is a classic Italian dish made with fresh cauliflower and pasta, plus a variety of flavorful ‘pantry’ ingredients. You’ll love this simple and delicious dish!
A few weeks ago, we visited my husband Jack’s parents (aka Nanny and Grampa). Anytime we visit my in-laws, we typically bring along some leftovers of recipes that we’ve made to share here on A Family Feast. For them – it’s a nice break from cooking, and for us – it means fewer leftovers for us to eat!
During our last visit, Nanny took out an old paperback cookbook with a rubber band around yellowing pages. It was a well-used copy of The Art of Italian Cooking by Maria Lo Pinto, and Nanny said she used the cookbook constantly over the years as she tried to recreate Grampa’s favorite Italian dishes.
Jack and I each thumbed through the cookbook – and interestingly enough – we both stopped at the page with the recipe for this Fusilli with Cauliflower (or Fusilli con Cavolfiore in Italian).
Fusilli with Cauliflower is a simple dish of cauliflower and pantry ingredients including fusilli pasta, onions, canned tomatoes, anchovies, pine nuts, red pepper flakes, currants and extra virgin olive oil, plus salt and pepper to taste.
This recipe is my idea of quintessential Italian cooking – simple, fresh, humble ingredients that are combined together into a fantastic dish! And with the renewed popularity of cauliflower these days – we couldn’t wait to share this Fusilli with Cauliflower with all of you today!
A few last comments: I know that many people avoid cooking with or eating anchovies. But this dish really needs them in order to achieve that wonderfully authentic Italian flavor! The anchovies cook down and lend a wonderful salty flavor to the Fusilli with Cauliflower – but you (or any one else eating this) would not know that the anchovies are there.
Also, you can leave out the pasta and just enjoy the cauliflower cooked with all of the other ingredients as a flavorful and delicious low carb dish.
P.S. You can find used copies of The Art of Italian Cooking here. (Affiliate link)Print
1 medium head of cauliflower, about 2 pounds
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cups onion, diced
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 anchovy fillets, coarsely cut up, or more if you like it salty
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
½ pound fusilli or your favorite pasta
1 tablespoon pine nuts
1 tablespoon currants
Salt and pepper, as needed
Cut core from cauliflower and break up into bite sized florets. I had about 5-6 cups of florets to use.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add cauliflower. Boil 10 minutes or just before tender. Save a cup of the cauliflower water to use to reheat this dish the next day. Drain the rest and hold the cauliflower.
While cauliflower is cooking, heat a medium to large pot with the olive oil over medium high heat. Once hot, add onions and sauté three minutes.
Add red pepper flakes and anchovies and cook two minutes. The anchovies will melt into the onion mixture.
Add the tomatoes and once hot, cover and turn the heat to low and cook 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes add pine nuts and currants and cook five more minutes covered.
While tomatoes are cooking, cook fusilli according to box directions and drain.
Taste tomato mixture for salt and pepper (I did not add either).
Add cooked cauliflower and cooked fusilli to the tomato mixture, tossing to combine. Heat just to serving temperature.
Although the original recipe did not call for Parmesan cheese, you could serve it on the side. (But we liked the original taste of this dish without the added cheese.
Substitute any type of pasta or eliminate the pasta all together and just have the sauce mixed with the cauliflower.
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