Let me count the ways this pasta has a lot going for it in it’s Italian simplicity. It’s made with Romanesco Cauliflower and Anchovies, and my family adored it!
First of all, it only takes about 15 minutes of your time to prep it. 30 minutes total if you count the time it takes to bring the pot of water to a boil. So that, in and of itself, is a giant plus in my opinion.
Second, it makes use of romanesco cauliflower, which is one of those cool looking vegetables that may throw one or two of us for a loop. Is it a fractle? Is it broccoli? Is it cauliflower? What do I do with it? The answers are yes, sort of, sort of and this pasta. Add to that, it’s also good for you (and majorly delicious when tossed with garlic and anchovies.)
GARDENING NOTES Its my understanding that technically romanesco is neither cauliflower or broccoli, it is it’s own cultivar of the species Brassica oleracea var. botrytis. Wanna grow some in your garden this year? I gotta give a shout out to these organic seeds from Vermont. Since I am not even bothering with growing my own tomatoes this year, I am making space for awesomness like this romanesco.
The third thing? It is so Italian. And I love Italian everything really. I seriously need to stop gazing at the map of Italy. It is bad for productivity. Now that I have successfully flown to Mexico and back without needing to be knocked out like B.A. Baracus I think Italia is next on the list. I haven’t been there since I was 20 years old and I want to go back. Like right now… just me and Jase strolling though cobble stone streets, sipping wine, eating mounds of pasta and gelato… That won’t be like moving a mountain to line up will it? Not at all.
While I wait, I am making recipes like this one, pouring a glass of crisp Northern Italian Muller Thurgau and closing my eyes. I can hear the wind in the olive groves!
If this recipe was a little more authentic, the garlic frying step would be done in a skillet and then the pasta added to the skillet once it was cooked. All right all right, and there would be way more oil too, and it wouldn’t be from Costco either. It would be uber grassy and delicious. But in the name of not having to wash a big skillet, and for the mixed emotional love of Costco, I have you sizzle the garlic in a small skillet and then drizzle it over the cooked and drained pasta in the pasta pot.
I added Pecorino Romano to this, since I was on a Roman theme here and all. If you cant find that, look for Asiago, since it has a similar level of saltiness. Or you can always use whatever hard cheese you have and then adjust the seasoning when you toss it all together. I’m totally good with that.
Oh, and there is a fourth thing. My daughters ate their entire bowls of this and both went back for seconds! In fact while they waited for me to take these pictures, Lila kept stealing pieces of it out of the measuring cup. Say what? Seeing my kids happily eating anchovies and strange day glow fractle cauliflower stuff… best parenting moment to date! Maybe I’ll bring them with me to Italy! Now THAT would be earth shattering!
Want more ideas for cauliflower? Don’t miss this Ultimate Guide to Cauliflower!
Healthy whole-wheat pasta, ready in just 30 minutes with romanesco cauliflower and anchovies.
- 8 ounces whole wheat pasta, such as rigatoni, penne or fusilli (2 cups)
- 1 large head romanesco cauliflower, chopped into bite sized pieces (5 cups)
- 3 tablespoons best quality extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 anchovy filets, minced
- ¼ cup shredded Romano cheese, plus more for serving
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta, stir well and set timer according to package cooking instructions. When the pasta has 4 minutes left stir in Romanesco. Continue cooking until the pasta and Romanesco are just tender. Reserve ½ cup pasta cooking liquid and drain pasta and Romanesco thoroughly. Return the pasta mixture to the pot.
- Meanwhile, heat oil and garlic in a small skillet over medium heat. When the garlic just starts to brown remove from the heat and stir in anchovy.
- Pour the anchovy mixture over the pasta and Romanesco and stir to coat. Add ¼ cup Romano cheese and pepper and stir to coat. If mixture is dry add a little of the reserved cooking liquid. Divide among four plates and top with additional cheese if desired.
- Serving Size: 2 cups
- Calories: 332
- Fat: 13
- Saturated Fat: 2
- Carbohydrates: 47
- Fiber: 9
- Protein: 10