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Try this Sicilian pasta dish from Sicilian chef Emilia Strazzanti. Emilia says, "Walking through the food markets you’ll see the enormous green Sicilian cauliflowers that are around the size of four regular UK cauliflowers. They’re intense in flavour and, paired with Sicily’s saffron, raisins and pine nuts, make up pasta con broccoli arriminati, a favourite dish. ‘Arriminati’ means ‘stirred’."

This is a recipe that Emilia shared as part of her guide to Sicilian cuisine. Check it out to learn about arancina, pasta alla norma and caper plants.

Emilia and her two sisters, Nina and Sofia, opened Strazzanti in London’s Fitzrovia to celebrate their Sicilian and Neopolitan heritage. Emilia has worked as a chef specialising in pastry in Paris, Milan and Sicily but returned to London to help set up the family business. It started life as a shop before diversifying into a wholesale business supplying the likes of Selfridges and Bar Termini, and now hosts a supper club as well. In 2020, Strazzanti also started offering cooking kits called Il Piccolo Pacchetto – ‘the little parcel’.

Emilia's recipe tip: "This dish includes so many things that are a wonderful representation of Sicilian cuisine. It originates from Palermo, the capital of Sicily, which has a history of many invasions, and draws heavily from Arabic influences. With the use of saffron, raisins and pine nuts, this dish is not only full of history and culture but flavour, too. There may be some confusion with the name of this dish – it uses green cauliflower similar to romesco, which is known as broccoli siciliani."


Sicilian pasta with cauliflower recipe

Ingredients

  • 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

Method

  • 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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