Sicilian Style Cauliflower Pasta

Sicilian Style Cauliflower Pasta is real Sicilian home cooking, humble but with flavor and texture.  Vito’s Dad would make it, adding the pine nuts only on special occasions, always advising that the pinch of nutmeg was crucial to the flavor of the dish and he was right!  Use grated sheep or goat milk cheese for true authenticity.  Sicilian Style Cauliflower Pasta may be unfamiliar to you, but after your first taste of it, you will be adding this humble dish to your pasta repertoire.  Pair it with a Sicilian Orange Salad starter for a very Sicilian meal.

Sicilian Style Cauliflower Pasta

Prep Time: 30 minutes, Total Time: 45 minutes. Serves 4.

Support Cook and Eat at Home. Purchase a PDF of the Sicilian Style Cauliflower Pasta recipe for $1.00


  • 2 Tbs Unseasoned Breadcrumbs
  • 4 Tbs Pine Nuts
  • 1 medium-size head Cauliflower, trimmed and rinsed
  • 3 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tb minced Garlic
  • 3 Tbs sliced pitted Kalamata Olives
  • 1 tsp Fish Sauce or 1 Anchovy Fillet mashed*
  • ½ tsp Crushed Red Pepper flakes or 1 tsp if you prefer it spicy
  • ½ tsp dried Oregano leaves
  • Pinch ground Nutmeg
  • ½ cup dry White Wine
  • ½ cup grated mixed Parmesan and Romano Cheeses
  • 3 oz short, cut Pasta per person, recommend mezze rigatoni, pennette, ditalini/tubetti or elbows


  1. Pour the breadcrumbs in an even layer into a dry small omelet pan; we use an 8” very heavy omelet pan. Over a medium high heat, toast the breadcrumbs by swirling them in pan; taking care not to burn them.  When the breadcrumbs are a café au lait color, remove the pan from the heat and pour the toasted breadcrumbs into a dish to cool down and set aside.
  2. Repeat the toasting procedure with the pine nuts, toasting them to a light golden-brown color; pour the toasted pine nuts into a second dish to cool down and set aside.
  3. Break down the cauliflower into florets not larger than two inches across the widest part; traditionally white cauliflower is used but we prefer to use orange cauliflower for the color which it brings.
  4. Bring a pot of well-salted water to a boil; once boiling, add your pasta, stir and cook to al dente.
  5. Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a wide, deep frying pan over a medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add the cauliflower to the pan and sauté covered, stirring to lightly brown the cauliflower.
  6. As the cauliflower is browning, add the minced garlic to pan and sauté with the cauliflower.
  7. In a small bowl, combine the spices/seasonings: crushed red pepper flakes, dried oregano leaves and nutmeg.
  8. Once the cauliflower and garlic are golden brown, add the sliced Kalamata olives and fish sauce or mashed anchovy fillet. Stir to mix, cover and sauté for a few more minutes; the salt from these two ingredients will soften the cauliflower.
  9. Add the spices/seasonings to the cauliflower, stir to mix and cook uncovered for one minute.
  10. Pour the white wine over the cauliflower, raise the heat to high and reduce the liquid volume by half.
  11. Drain the cooked pasta, add it to the pan with the cauliflower. Pour the breadcrumbs, pine nuts and grated cheeses over the cauliflower and pasta and mix gently.  Serve immediately.


  • While the anchovy fillet is traditional, really good quality fish sauce is easier to use. We recommend 3 Crabs brand fish sauce which is Vietnamese; it’s not quite as salty as some other brands and has a really deep, forward fish flavor.

Sicilian Style Cauliflower Pasta

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *