Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Pasta ai 'broccoli' alla siciliana!

A few days ago I talked to my friend Maia, who's from Sicily, and she showed me some pictures of food they cooked. I was very interested in some type of pasta that I saw, which had some white pieces in it, and some raisins and pinenuts clearly visible. I asked what it was, and she said it was pasta with broccoli Sicilian style. I couldn't see anything green in it, so I asked her where the broccoli were... and she explained to me that broccoli in Sicilian language are cauliflower! The problem is that 'broccoli' in Italian refers to the same vegetable that you know in English.. so, it's a bit confusing, but very intriguing. :) Thus, I looked for a recipe online for this pasta, and I prepared it for Giovanna, Vardha (and of course Lucas and I :) ) last Saturday.

Pasta con 'broccoli' alla siciliana ('Broccoli' pasta Sicilian style)
1 1/2 lb cauliflower
1 lb short pasta (e.g. maccheroni)
1/2 cup pinenuts
1/2 cup raisins
1 onion
1 tsp saffron
basil leaves and bread crumbs (optional)
pecorino (romano), grated
Soak raisins in warm water. Cut cauliflower in small pieces. Bring a large amount of water to boil. Add salt (N.B. I usually add ~ 1 tbsp for quart of water, more or less). Throw the pasta in the boiling water. In the meanwhile, sautee the onion, add the pinenuts and the raisins, drained from their water, and the saffron, previously dissolved in 1 tbsp boiling water taken from the pasta water. Cook for a few minutes. Five minutes before the pasta is done, throw the cauliflower pieces in the water with the pasta. Drain the pasta and the cauliflower when the pasta is done (if you timed it right, the cauliflower should be done too). Stir the pasta and cauliflower in the pinenut/raisin sauce. Add grated cheese, ground black pepper before serving. You can also add basil leaves roughly cut and bread crumbs, quickly roasted in the oven, before serving. I didn't use almost any basil and no bread crumbs, this time. The pasta was wonderful!
Also, this was a vegeterian version. For non-vegetarian, add 6 anchovies to the raisin/pinenut sauce, let them cook with it before stirring the pasta in.
The day after, a great way to eat this pasta is to reheat it in the oven, after covering its surface with a bit more grated cheese and bread crumbs. When it's warm, just turn on the broil for 2 minutes. The pasta will have a wonderful crust on top!

I decided I will give this recipe as my first entry to 'Presto Pasta' night, that I recently found out. It's a weekly event hosted by nice Ruth at Once upon a Feast. That's such a nice idea! And I make some sort of pasta definitely every week, so I may contribute often :)

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