Orecchiette with Cauliflower
(Orecchiette con Cavolfiore)
This unusual pasta recipe, from The Best of Bugialli (Stewart, Tabori & Chang,1994) by Giuliano Bugialli, is both easy to cook and easy to like.
1 large cauliflower, about 2 1⁄2 lbs., green leaves removed
2 large cloves garlic, peeled
1⁄2 cup olive oil
5 whole anchovies packed in salt, boned and rinsed, or 10
anchovy filets packed in oil, drained
1 lb. dried orecchiette pasta
Freshly ground black pepper
1⁄2 tsp. hot red pepper flakes
20 sprigs fresh Italian parsley, leaves only, finely chopped
1. Put cauliflower in a large bowl of cold water and soak for 1⁄2 hour. Bring a large pot of cold water to a boil. Add salt to taste.
2. Cut cauliflower into florets, discarding stems. Put florets into boiling water with garlic and cook for 3 minutes. Drain cauliflower, reserving cooking water. Transfer to a bowl until needed. Discard garlic.
3. Heat oil in a large casserole over medium heat, remove from heat, add anchovy filets, and mash with a fork. Meanwhile, bring cauliflower water back to a boil. Add pasta to boiling water, cook until al dente (9–12 minutes), and drain.
4. Transfer pasta to casserole with anchovies, stir over medium heat, add cauliflower, salt, and pepper and cook for 1 minute. Add red pepper flakes, parsley, and serve.