Pasta with Cauliflower and Anchovy Sauce Recipe

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5 votes | 5673 views

This is a wonderful, mild flavored pasta we've adapted from Marcella Hazan. I know it sounds like an odd combination of ingredients, but you should definitely try it. It's unlike any pasta you have likely eaten before, and it is quite tasty. We will definitely make it again. Serve with the roasted broccoli below for a nice combination of flavors and a healthy meal.

Prep time:
Cook time:
Servings: 6


Cost per serving $0.55 view details
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 6 flat anchovies, chopped very fine (canned is fine)
  • 1/2 tsp red chili pepper flakes or to taste (we substituted 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper to suit our kids)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt or more to taste
  • 2 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds penne pasta (we use Barilla plus)


  1. Strip the cauliflower of all its leaves except for the tender inner ones. Rinse and cut in two.
  2. Bring 4-5 quarts of water to boil, put in the cauliflower, and cook it till tender, about 25-30 minutes. Prod it with a fork to test for doneness. Remove from the water and set aside. When cooled, chop the cauliflower into pieces not bigger than a small nut.
  3. Return the water to the stove, bring to boil, and add the pasta and cook until done.
  4. While the pasta is cooking, put the oil and garlic in a medium saute pan, turn the heat to medium, and cook until the garlic becomes colored a light, golden brown. Then add the chopped anchovies and cook for a few minutes while stirring an mashing the anchovies against the sides of the pan with a wooden spoon until they are close to the consistency of a paste.
  5. Add the cauliflower pieces and turn them until thoroughly coated with the oil, mashing some with the back of the spoon.
  6. Add the chili pepper flakes or black pepper and kosher salt. Turn up the heat and cook for a few more minutes, stirring frequently. (This can be prepared a few hours ahead of time, but don't refridgerate it.)
  7. Toss the sauce with the cooked and drained pasta. Add the chopped parsley, toss, check and adjust seasoning, then serve immediately.


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Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Serving %DV
Serving Size 116g
Recipe makes 6 servings
Calories 512  
Calories from Fat 171 33%
Total Fat 19.44g 24%
Saturated Fat 2.75g 11%
Trans Fat 0.0g  
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 201mg 8%
Potassium 224mg 6%
Total Carbs 70.99g 19%
Dietary Fiber 3.1g 10%
Sugars 2.57g 2%
Protein 12.43g 20%
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  • John Spottiswood
    I wasn't sure I was going to like this, but I did. It was a very nice combination of flavors. If you are looking for an alternative to tomato or pesto based sauces, this is a really nice alternative.
    I've cooked/tasted this recipe!
    • More
      It is a very interesting and rich mixture, I prepare and I can recommend it.
      I've cooked/tasted this recipe!
      • Frank Fariello
        Doesn't sound odd to me. This is one of my favorite pastas of all time! (My pasta of choice is orecchiette...)
        I've cooked/tasted this recipe!

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