Sicilian Style Pasta with Cauliflower

Sicilian Style Pasta with Cauliflower

This Sicilian Style Pasta with Cauliflower (Pasta e Cavolfiore alla Siciliana) is a unique recipe many of you probably have never heard of. The unusual flavour combination with anchovies, pine nuts, and raisins indeed is absolutely delicious. And the best part? Those bread crumbs tossed with olive oil and salt!

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Sicilian Style Pasta with Cauliflower

Hello, hello! How are you doing, folks?

I have some great news to announce.

First of all, it’s March 20th meaning the spring has started. Yay to this!

Secondly, it’s Monday. So I decided it would be a great idea to share photos of Daisy again. In February and March she has visited my settings quite often – not sure why (she has not done that for over a year.) Perhaps, she’s been a tad bored due to our Canadian weather. Anyway, I have a couple of unpublished recipes more with Daisy’s appearance – so I may be sharing them every Monday for the next couple of weeks. Daisy insists any Monday is much better when here photos are shared :)

Lastly, I am excited to share a truly unique pasta today.

Sicilian Style Pasta with Cauliflower (Pasta e Cavolfiore alla Sicilian)

Sicilian Style Pasta with Cauliflower? I bet many of you have never tried or even heard of it.

Yeah, that was me before February, 2023. When Frank posted the recipe on this blog, I was definitely intrigued with such a unique and somewhat unusual flavour combination. I mean, pasta and raisins? I had never heard of adding raisins to pasta. On a side note, now I know that you can find raisins in quite a few pasta sauce variations.

Needless to say, I wanted to try this pasta ASAP (and that does not happen too often.) And just a couple of weeks later, this happened!

Only three words: thank you, Frank!

What Does This Pasta Taste Like?

It is hard to explain, – you simply need to try it!

First, the sauce is creamy. The cauliflower is simmered until it is soft and resembles the rough pure. Pine nuts, raisins, and bread crumbs are important ingredients for the added texture.

Secondly, raisins do not make this pasta sweet – they add some subtle juiciness (and maybe a hint of sweetness.)

The pasta sauce itself is quite delicate – because cauliflower is rather neutral. That’s why the addition of breadcrumbs is important. Oh boy, those breadcrumbs! I normally do not like any breadcrumbs, and I have never used them on pasta. Homemade breadcrumbs (I used baguette) tossed with extra virgin olive oil and a good pinch of salt are terrific. I made a LARGE batch of it and used for two days literally sprinkling everything.

As I said, they do add the character to this pasta, so please do not skip them!

More Pasta Recipes

Looking for more pasta ideas? Sure!

Veal Ragù Pasta

Sun-Dried Tomato Veal Pasta

Chestnut Prosciutto Pasta

Veal Chestnut Pasta

I hope you like this Sicilian Style Pasta with Cauliflower, and you will give it a try shortly. If you make it, let me know in this post or send me an Instagram message or share your photos adding the hashtag #havocinthekitchen. And please check Frank’s blog, too.


Sicilian Style Pasta with Cauliflower
Sicilian Style Pasta with Cauliflower
Sicilian Style Pasta with Cauliflower

Sicilian Style Pasta with Cauliflower

Recipe by Ben | HavocinthekitchenCourse: Dinner, Main, LunchCuisine: Italian


Prep time


Cooking time



This Sicilian Style Pasta with Cauliflower (Pasta e Cavolfiore alla Siciliana) is a unique recipe with anchovies, pine nuts, and raisins, and bread crumbs tossed with olive oil and salt!

Adopted from Memorie di Angelina – Easy authentic Italian recipes


  • Sicilian Style Pasta with Cauliflower:
  • 450 gr. pasta (normally long such as spaghetti or bucatini, but short types will work too)

  • 1 small-medium cauliflower, roughly cut into small pieces

  • 2-3 tbsp. olive oil

  • 1 small onion, finely minced

  • 2-3 garlic cloves

  • 2-3 anchovy fillets

  • 1/4 cup raisins

  • 1/4 cup pine nuts

  • salt and pepper, to taste

  • 1/2 tsp. saffron strands, dissolved in 2 tbsp. warm water (optional)

  • 1/4 tsp. chili flakes (optional)

  • Breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs – I simply grind the stale baguette into course crumbs

  • 3-4 tbsp. olive oil

  • a good pinch of salt


  • In a medium pan sauté the breadcrumbs in olive oil and seasoned with salt, over low-medium heat, until golden brown. Turn off the heat and set aside.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the cauliflower and boil for about 5 minutes, until mostly tender. Remove the cauliflower and set aside but do not discard the water. (See step 5)
  • In a separate pan, sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil until soft and translucent.
  • Then add the anchovies, and when they’ve melted into the onion, add the raisins and pine nuts. If using, also add the dissolved saffron or / and chili flakes.
  • Scoop cauliflower out of the pot and add it directly to the skillet pan. Give it a toss, then add a ladleful of the cooking water. Simmer the cauliflower until fully tender, stirring and breaking up the cauliflower with a spoon or spatula. The cooking liquid should almost entirely evaporate and the cauliflower should turn into a rough purée.
  • In the meantime, add the pasta to the pot where the cauliflower was boiled, and cook until al dente or even a tad less. Reserve some water (a cup or so) then drain.
  • Gently stir in the cooked pasta to the pan with the cauliflower sauce. Toss and simmer for a minute or so, until the flavours are combined and the pasta and the cauliflower puree well-combined. Try and season with salt and pepper, if necessary.
  • Serve topped with the breadcrumbs. Enjoy!

21 thoughts on “Sicilian Style Pasta with Cauliflower

  1. Eva Taylor says:

    I was intrigued by Franks recipe too, we adore cauliflower and always have some at home. I usually roast my cauliflower to get the most flavour from it. The raisins are a lovely addition too.

  2. Jeff the Chef says:

    Well, you’re right – I’ve certainly never had anything like this. But it sounds perfect! I love pasta, and I love breadcrumbs! I’m also a huge fan of cauliflower, so I think I’m going to have to try this.

  3. Raymund says:

    The combination of anchovies, pine nuts, and raisins sounds unique and delicious, and I’m excited to give it a try. Love the addition of breadcrumbs – I’ve used them on pasta before, and it adds a nice texture and also acts as a flavour absorbant. Yum!

  4. Michelle says:

    Raisins with pasta is such a unique addition — loving the addition of the toasted breadcrumbs, and that it’s completely vegetarian :)

  5. David @ Spiced says:

    I remember when Frank posted that recipe, and I thought the same thing – “wow, that looks and sounds delicious!” Kudos to you for making this one, Ben. The anchovies, pine nuts and raisins definitely bring a different flavor profile…but I can see how it would work well. Oh, and hello Daisy!
    David @ Spiced recently posted…Minestrone SoupMy Profile

  6. David Scott Allen says:

    I love Frank’s recipes and I have made his version of this, as well as a few others (each is a little different it its own way). Isn’t it surprising how the breadcrumbs take over the job of the cheese? I love it.

    Also love seeing Daisy again.

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