Sicilian Cauliflower Pasta

If you are tired of the same old spaghetti and tomato sauce & are looking for a new and unique pasta dish to serve this week, look no further. This recipe is perfect to break you out of a week-day dinner rut. This pasta is loaded with unique flavours. Penne noodles are tossed with tender cauliflower, sautéed onions and garlic, sweet golden raisins, and buttery pine nuts. Right before serving, the dish is lightened up with fresh Italian parsley and lemon juice. And if you like, you can top the dish off with some freshly grated parmesan cheese. Delicious!

Hope you are all having a great week. :) Thankfully, the work week is half done! I’m off to book club meeting tonight and looking forward to discussing A Dog’s Purpose by W.Bruce Cameron. I’m also surprising my book club members with a chocolate peanut butter cake as a treat. I’ll be sure to post the recipe this upcoming weekend!  


  • 12 ounces of penne or cavatappi
  • 1/2 onion; diced
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons of golden raisins
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup of pine nuts
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup of fresh italian parsley; chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice (juice of half a lemon)
  • 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese (optional)


1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the label’s instructions. Reserve 3/4 of the cooking water and then drain the pasta.

Note: you can easily use gluten-free pasta in this recipe if you have gluten concerns, or you can use whole-wheat pasta if you’d like something a bit healthier.

2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet/pan over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion for 5 minutes. Trim the thick stems off the cauliflower and coarsely grate the florets on the large holes of a box grater. 

Note: It’s okay for some of the cauliflower pieces to be a bit larger. If you don’t have a box grater, your can add chunks of cauliflower to a food processor and pulse a few times. Or, your can simply chop the cauliflower florets into small pieces.

3. Add cauliflower, garlic, raisins, pine nuts, salt and pepper to the onions. Cook until the cauliflower has softened slightly and browned (about 5 to 7 minutes). 

4. Remove the skillet/pan from the heat and add the cooked pasta. Stir in the chopped parsley, lemon juice, parmesan cheese if using and 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water. Add more cooking water if needed to loosen the pasta dish. Season with salt, toss and serve.

Source: adapted from Food Network Magazine March 2012


  1. says

    Oh my, this sounds like the perfect dish! Love the idea of adding golden raisins too!

    I’d love to try this but wonder if I should make enough to have leftovers.. I usually find that cauliflower doesn’t smell so great the next day.. Did you have any leftovers, and if so, were they still just as good?

  2. says

    Hey Natalie! :)
    Good question! I know exactly what you mean. Cauliflower normally does not taste or smell the greatest in left overs. I found that in this dish, the cauliflower did not smell weird the next day and the left overs tasted quite good. I think because the cauliflower pieces are so small and absorb the flavours of garlic, onion etc…the flavouring did not change much over a day or two.
    Hope that helps! :) Enjoy the rest of your week :)

  3. says

    This is such an interesting pasta recipe – I love the idea of grating the cauliflower! I actually have some cavatappi that’s been sitting in my cupboard for a long time just waiting to be used in a recipe like this! (or I’ll just get my sister to make an extra serving for me ;)

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