Olive Magazine
A large white bowl of pasta on a grey stone background with a white linen napkin

Sicilian pasta with cauliflower

Published: February 25, 2022 at 11:14 am
  • Preparation and cooking time
    • Total time
  • Easy
  • Serves 4

This dish originates from Palermo, the capital of Sicily, and draws heavily from Arabic influences. Featuring saffron, raisins and pine nuts, it's packed with flavour and texture

  • Vegan
  • Vegetarian

Try this recipe for Sicilian pasta with cauliflower, then check out our Sicilian caponata, Sicilian aubergine pizzas and Sicilian mackerel, plus discover 10 things we love about Sicilian cuisine. Finish it off with a slice of creamy Sicilian ricotta cake or classic cannoli.

Looking for more pasta recipes? Try our cauliflower, anchovy and raisin spaghetti, asparagus and anchovy pasta, caramelised onion, pine nut and cauliflower pasta and plenty more.


  • 50g raisins
  • 6 tbsp 
olive oil
  • 75g coarse breadcrumbs
  • 1 large romanesco cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 400g turbanti pasta
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 25g pine nuts
  • 3 anchovies (optional)
  • a big pinch of saffron
  • extra-virgin olive oil (Sicilian if possible), to serve


  • STEP 1

    Tip the raisins into a heatproof bowl, pour over enough just-boiled water to cover, soak for 15 minutes, then drain. Meanwhile, bring a large pan of water to the boil and add a pinch of salt.

  • STEP 2

    Heat 3 tbsp of the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and gently fry the breadcrumbs until golden brown, stirring regularly to stop them burning. Season with sea salt and set aside to cool.

  • STEP 3

    Meanwhile, cook the cauliflower florets in the boiling water for 2 minutes until tender. Drain, reserving the cooking water. Return the water to the pan, bring back to the boil and cook the pasta following pack instructions or until al dente. Drain, again reserving the cooking water.

  • STEP 4

    Heat the remaining 3 tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan and gently fry the onion for 8-10 minutes until translucent. Add the pine nuts and lightly toast with the onions briefly. Stir in the anchovies, if using, and cook until they have dissolved.

  • STEP 5

    Add the soaked raisins and cook for a few minutes more before adding the saffron and cooked cauliflower. Break the cauliflower up with the back of a spoon. Stir in a small ladleful of the reserved cooking water until it has a creamy texture. Make sure all the ingredients are well combined, then stir in the pasta, scatter with the golden breadcrumbs and serve.


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