Pine nuts and currants often star in Sicilian cuisine, so richly influenced by Middle Eastern culinary heritage. They enhance la pasta al cavolfiore (pasta with cauliflower) – a filling and tasty Sicilian winter dish perfect for this time of year.
- Penne or rigatoni pasta (1 lb. for every 5 people)
- 1 Head of cauliflower
- 1 Bottle/large can of tomato sauce
- Extra virgin olive oil, q. b. (quanto basta or “as much as you need”)
- 1 Handful of currants
- 1 Handful of pine nuts
- 1 Small onion
- Salt and pepper, q.b.
- Parmesan cheese, q.b.
- Optional ingredients: 2 anchovies, preserved in oil to add to simmering onion and/or 1 red chili pepper
Wash cauliflower and cut into flowerets (including leaves). Cook cauliflower in salted boiling water and drain when al dente. Save the water to use for pasta. Dice onion. Simmer diced onion in extra virgin olive oil in a saucepan until golden (option to add anchovies). Add cauliflower and simmer a few minutes. Add tomato sauce. Simmer about 10 minutes then add pine nuts, currants and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer briefly until sauce thickens a bit. Cook pasta in boiling cauliflower water, draining when al dente. Pour cauliflower sauce over pasta and add pepper as needed. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.