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Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower, Raisins, Pine Nuts and Parmigiano

Sicilian pasta with cauliflower fills my needs. Loaded with lots of umami and great sweet and spicy flavor, this classic dish is one you will want to try.

Sicilian Pasta in a Blue Dish

I love pasta and cauliflower and this cauliflower with pasta is one of my favorite ways to use it!

This classic Sicilian pasta, Pasta con Cavolfiore, with raisins and pine nuts, anchovies and saffron is a great way to get everyone to eat their veggies.

Feel free to use Romanesco cauliflower if you like. I just used the usual and it turned out amazing.  

Anchovies have you worried? Trust me on this! You will never know the anchovies exist once this sauce is pulled together. They lend so much flavor that you don’t want to leave them out of this cauliflower pasta recipe.

Cauliflower Pasta

Don’t have a can of anchovies? Then use a big dollop of anchovy paste. I always have this in the fridge for when the urge to make Caesar Salad strikes!

What makes this Sicilian pasta? Perhaps it’s the saffron which gives a delicate and intricate flavor to this pasta. 

The raisins add sweetness and if you don’t have those, currants can be used instead. The balance of anchovies and raisins makes that special salty sweet flavor that I so adore. And if you want it a little more salty try adding a spoonful of capers.

No campanelle pasta? Use spaghetti. I just love this hand bell shaped pasta with the ruffly edges because it reminds me of cauliflower florets. Also it holds sauce very well.

Sicilian Pasta with Cauliflower

When you are making pasta this special using authentic ingredients always makes everything taste better. In this case there is nothing like real Parmigiano-Reggiano. To know if your Parmigiano is the real thing the rind should be stamped in pin dots forming the words, “Parmigiano-Reggiano.”

Sold in 85 lb wheels, each wheel carries a number and a production date in the same pin dots.

I always have a wedge in the fridge and make sure to buy it at my favorite Italian grocery-Costco!

Real Parmigiano Reggiano is amazing and that’s no lie. Truthfully I love eating it all by its lonesome, but there is nothing like the real thing added to pasta.

Save the parmigiano rinds to make broth for soup. Lesson here: Do not throw away those rinds. They are great thrown into soup pots or risotto or beans. The rinds add a ton of flavor to food, so don’t waste them.

Campanelle Pasta with Cauliflower and Raisins

Today on September 8th, it is actually snowing here in Denver. Though this is an old post, I thought it high time I update it. Pasta sounds wonderful on this cold Fall day and since I have a cauliflower that needs a home, I thought this sounded perfect.

(Below is the original version from March 24. 2015.)

 As I said Passover is getting close, which means no pasta for 8 days. Best get it in now which is exactly what I did. Cauliflowers are gorgeous this season, so what better time than the present to give you this recipe! Mangia!

I’ve had a lot on my plate this week and I wish it was just this pasta. Spring cleaning is in full force since I found out that I am going to have a full house for Passover this year!

It is hard to believe that Alex came home last Thursday night from China; I know; and he already left! He is though, due back again today!

I am choosing to believe that he came home to see us, though he left less than 12 hours later to join his Bucknell Ski team buddies in Utah for a ski team reunion. Well, he is staying for Passover and I should count my blessings!

It was less than two weeks ago that he decided to return and in that time Zoe decided she must come from Philly to see her bro, and my parents decided to come up from Phoenix, because God knows when they might see him again! He is so popular, isn’t he?

Cauliflower Pasta with Raisins and Pine Nuts

And Zoe is bringing THE boyfriend, and her friends and the rest of the famille can’t wait to check him out. (OK. He is very nice and I know him, but we will see how well he holds up under pressure, though I’m not too worried because he has held up under Zoe!) Wow. That was a long sentence.

The family will be together again this Passover which leaves me frantic and happy and may miracles never cease. And speaking of miracles…I was in shock the other day when I knocked THIS glass off the counter and it landed just as you see it.

That’s a miracle, isn’t it? I was ready for the shatter and looking to make sure the dog was out of the way, and then I peeked and this is what I saw. I have never, EVER had this happen!

Green Counter with Blue Glass

So short of not breaking a glass, I decided this cauiflower pasta was a bit of a miracle too! With just a few ordinary ingredients, OK maybe not saffron, this tasty pasta becomes dinner in no time!

More Great Recipes:

Linguini with white clam sauce

Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce

Wild Mushroom Grilled Pizza

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy.

A Few Things I used to make this Sicilian Pasta:

Though I don’t have this pasta pot, I have one similar. The lift out strainer really makes it easy to cook pasta. Saffron is something I don’t use often but I love having it on hand when I need it. It makes everything taste incredible and Spanish saffron is considered the best. Campanelle Pasta looks like this! Trader Joe’s was out of pine nuts, so Costco saved me again. I think I have a lifetime supply!

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Cauliflower with Pasta

Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower, Raisins, Pine Nuts and Parmigiano

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 1 review
  • Author: Abbe Odenwalder
  • Prep Time: 25 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 Minutes
  • Total Time: 30 Minutes
  • Yield: 4 - 6 Servings 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Oven/Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Italian/Sicilian


This Sicilian cauliflower pasta with raisins and pine nuts is sweet and savory and good. Truly a classic dish!


Units Scale

2 c cauliflower florets

20 Baby tomatoes

Coarse Salt

23 T olive oil

12 oz campanelle pasta, cooked according to package directions in salted water (I like this shape because it is shaped like cauliflower)

1/31/2 c golden raisins softened (Just cover them with hot water until soft)

1 pinch saffron, blended into 1 T hot water

4 chopped anchovies in oil

4 minced garlic cloves

1/41/2 t crushed red pepper flakes

1 T butter

1/4 c pasta water

3 T pine nuts (toasted if you prefer)

1/4 chopped Italian parsley

1/3 c Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated


Preheat oven to 425.

Begin by preparing your tomatoes and cauliflower for roasting. Lin a baking sheet with parchment paper for easy clean up. Toss veggies with oil and salt and place in oven. Do not crowd your pan or it will take longer for vegetables to brown!  A convection oven or air fryer could do this job faster.  You can do these in two separate pans if you want.

Cook your pasta according to package directions for al dente pasta and then set it aside.

Cover your raisins with water and let soften.

Let saffron dissolve a bit in hot water, too.

Heat anchovies in skillet over medium heat and cook with garlic until they break up. (I will be honest. I do not like anchovies out of the can. Cooking them to make sauce though is divine!)

Add the saffron, red pepper flakes and butter after garlic is soft. Stir in your pasta water.

When cauliflower and tomatoes are roasted, stir them into the pasta and add anchovy mixture and drained raisins.

Garnish with pine nuts, parsley and Parmigiano Reggiano. Enjoy!


Feel free to use a spoonful of capers if you like and don’t be worried about using a different shape of pasta!

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

Chef Mimi

Wednesday 9th of September 2020

This is a fabulous dish. I love Sicilian pastas when they have obviously been influenced by Northern Africa. My favorite is Nigella’s pasta Trapanese. No cooking involved, and the most fascinating flavors. It’s funny how well raisins work in pasta!


Friday 18th of September 2020

Thanks Mimi! I love the contrast of the sweet and salty!


Tuesday 8th of September 2020

What a perfect pasta when you need a warming meal like on a night like tonight. I am lucky to have all the ingredients on hand. Hooray!


Friday 18th of September 2020

Enjoy Holly! I love nights that make you just want to snuggle up with a good comfort dish!

Carol at Wild Goose Mama

Monday 30th of March 2015

I already subscribe.

Carol at Wild Goose Mama

Monday 30th of March 2015

I love it on Pasta with a little butter.

Carol at Wild Goose Mama

Monday 30th of March 2015

I follow you on pinterest. I am switching my name so it's either under Wild Goose Tea or Wild Goose Mama.