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Cooking

A perfect match

Three recipes that pair cauliflower with pasta — beautifully.

Pasta and cauliflower with sicilian flavors.

Photograph by Jim Scherer / Styling by Catrine Kelty

Pasta and cauliflower with sicilian flavors.

PASTA AND CAULIFLOWER WITH SICILIAN FLAVORS

Serves 4 to 6

cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

1 2-pound cauliflower, cut into florets (6 cups)

Salt and black pepper

1 cup golden raisins

1 large onion, chopped

2 tablespoons minced anchovy fillets

8 cloves garlic, minced

¾ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 28-ounce can petite-diced tomatoes

1½ teaspoons sugar

1 pound short, stubby pasta, cooked and hot

1 cup green olives, pitted and quartered

cup chopped fresh parsley

Finely grated Parmesan, to pass at table

In a very large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons oil until shimmering. Add the cauliflower and ½ teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until brown in spots, about 12 minutes. Scrape into a bowl and set aside. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, cover the raisins with hot water, leave to soften 15 minutes, then drain and set aside.

Wipe out skillet, adjust to medium heat, add remaining oil, and heat until shimmering. Add onion and ½ teaspoon salt, and saute until softened, about 4 minutes. Add anchovies and saute another 2 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, and saute 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes, sugar, and cauliflower, adjust heat to medium-high, and bring to a strong simmer. Adjust heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower is tender but not mushy and the sauce is thickened, about 10 minutes longer. Add the pasta, olives, raisins, 1 teaspoon salt, and black pepper to taste, and cook, tossing, about 1½ minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Transfer to a warm serving bowl, drizzle with oil, sprinkle with parsley, and serve, passing the Parmesan.

PASTA AND CAULIFLOWER WITH ONIONS AND SAFFRON

Serves 4 to 6

Continue reading below

Adapted from The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook, by Jack Bishop.

cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 2-pound cauliflower, cut into florets (6 cups)

Salt and pepper

¼ teaspoon crushed saffron threads

3 large onions, halved and thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

¾ cup dry white wine

1 pound short, stubby pasta, cooked and hot, cup water reserved

cup pine nuts, toasted

cup chopped fresh parsley

In a very large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons oil until shimmering. Add the cauliflower and ½ teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until brown in spots, about 12 minutes. Scrape into a bowl and set aside. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the saffron with ½ cup boiling water and set aside.

Wipe out skillet, return to medium-high heat, add remaining oil, and heat until shimmering. Add the onions and 1 teaspoon salt, and saute for about 2 minutes. Adjust heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and light gold, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic and saute 30 seconds. Add the wine, adjust heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1½ minutes. Stir in the cauliflower and saffron with water, adjust to medium-low, cover, and cook, shaking skillet occasionally, until the cauliflower is tender but not mushy, 10 to 12 minutes longer. Add the pasta, the cup cooking water, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste, and cook, tossing, about 1½ minutes. Add most of the pine nuts and parsley, and toss. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Transfer to a large, warm serving bowl, sprinkle with the remaining pine nuts and parsley, and serve.

Photograph by Jim Scherer / Styling by Catrine Kelty

TIP Accentuate cauliflower’s inherent nutty, peppery flavor notes by browning it deeply.

PASTA AND CAULIFLOWER WITH BITTER GREENS

Serves 4 to 6

Adapted from Regional Foods of Southern Italy, by Marlena de Blasi.

cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

4 cloves garlic, minced

1¼ cups fresh bread crumbs

Salt and black pepper

1 2-pound cauliflower, cut into florets (6 cups)

1 large onion, chopped

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon minced anchovy fillets

1 tablespoon fennel seeds, toasted

¾ cup dry white wine

¾ cup low-sodium chicken broth

1 large bunch turnip, beet, or dandelion greens, leaves chopped

1 pound short, stubby pasta, cooked and hot, cup water reserved

¾ cup finely grated pecorino Romano, plus extra to pass at table

In a very large skillet over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons oil until shimmering. Add a quarter of the garlic and saute 30 seconds. Add bread crumbs, ½ teaspoon salt, and black pepper to taste, and saute until toasted, about 8 minutes. Scrape into a bowl and set aside.

Wipe out skillet, adjust to medium-high heat, add 2 more tablespoons oil, and heat until shimmering. Add the cauliflower and cook, stirring occasionally, until brown in spots, about 12 minutes. Scrape into a bowl and set aside.

Wipe out skillet, adjust to medium heat, add remaining oil, and heat until shimmering. Add the onion and ½ teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining garlic, red pepper flakes, anchovy, and fennel seeds, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Add the wine and broth, adjust heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, to reduce slightly, about 4 minutes. Stir in the cauliflower, cover, and cook, shaking the skillet occasionally, for 6 minutes. Stir in the greens, cover, and cook, shaking occasionally, until the greens are wilted and the cauliflower is tender but not mushy, about 3 minutes longer. Add the pasta and the cup cooking water, and cook, tossing, about 1½ minutes. Toss in the pecorino, ½ teaspoon salt, and black pepper to taste. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Transfer to a warm serving bowl, drizzle with oil, sprinkle with reserved bread crumbs, and serve, passing extra pecorino.

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