For Saffron Lovers: Cauliflower with Penne

For Saffron Lovers: Cauliflower with Penne
  • 4Servings


  • salt
  • 1 pound penne rigate
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • a small handful golden raisins
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • a generous pinch saffron (20-24 threads)
  • 1 head white, yellow or orange cauliflower, cored
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano (a couple of handfuls)
  • toasted sliced almonds, thinly sliced basil leaves, and chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnishing



Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook to al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.

While the pasta is working, in a large, deep skillet or a dutch oven fitted with a lid, heat the EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Stir in the onion and garlic for 2 or 3 minutes. Add the raisins and lemon zest and cook for a few minutes more. Stir in the stock and saffron and bring to a simmer.

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the cauliflower until tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain and coarsely mash with a wooden spoon or potato masher. Stir in the butter to melt, then add the pasta and reserved pasta water; toss to combine. Add in the cheese as you toss.

Serve the penne in shallow bowls. Top with the almonds, basil and parsley.