Fusili with Cauliflower

Fusili with Cauliflower
  • 4Servings


  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • About 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 pound pancetta
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 - 3 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 small red jalapeno or Fresno chile pepper, finely chopped, or a fat pinch crushed red pepper
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pound fusilli pasta
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • A fat handful flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the cauliflower; cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cauliflower to a bowl of ice water (reserve the cooking water). Let the cauliflower cool; drain. Boil the reserved water for the pasta.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high. Add the pancetta; cook, stirring often, until the fat renders, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the onion, garlic and chile; cook until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the cauliflower; cook, stirring occasionally, until browned in spots, about 5 minutes.

Salt the boiling water. Add the pasta; cook to al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the starchy cooking water; drain the pasta.

Stir the tomato paste into the cauliflower mixture; cook for 1 minute. Add the wine; shake the skillet until the wine almost evaporates, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the pasta water, pasta and parsley; toss. Season with salt and pepper. Top with cheese.