I'm on a bit of a pine nut and golden raisin kick—this is the second time this week (here's the first). The combination of sweet and tangy with fancy nuttiness is irresistible. So when I was flipping through Tyler Florence's Tyler's Ultimate and saw this, a Sicilian-style spaghetti turned on its head, everything was decided: A quickly steamed-then-browned head of cauliflower is brightened with parsley and lemon juice (those seem to be pasta-brightening standbys), made airy by crisp panko (Japanese breadcrumbs), and richened with a little anchovy that reflects that nuttiness from the pine nuts. Although if anchovies scare you, they could be skipped. And the raisins are just there for fun.
I'm willing to call this one of my favorite pasta dishes yet. It's not the simplest to prepare the first time throughthere are a few critical things to timebut I thought it would be. So I found myself running around the kitchen trying to attend to toasting breadcrumbs, the cheese shredder, and pasta dangerously close to mushy. I also underestimated how long the cauliflower would take to cook. But the second time through, I think this would be a breeze.
And there will be a second time. And a third, and a fourth.
- 1 head cauliflower, cored and broken into bite-size florets.
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup raisins (I used my leftover goldens)
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 1/2 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 1/2 bunch parsley, chopped, about 1/2 cup
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon
- Freshly grated Parmesan to taste
Once the cauliflower is started, spread the panko on a baking sheet, season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Toast in the oven until crunchy and browned, 10 to 12 minutes.