Spicy Cauliflower Pasta with Garlic, Anchovies and Capers

by Kirsten on January 21, 2011 · 22 comments

in Main Dishes, Misc. Savory Dishes, Pasta, Seafood


How do you get kids and most adults to like their cauliflower? The secret is: Roast it! Then you pep it up with garlic, fennel, anchovies, capers and some pepper flakes.

I swear, this spicy cauliflower pasta dish is one of my daughter’s favorite. She fights you for the left overs the next day. To me that says it all. Forget about your ordinary pasta sauce and give this spicy cauliflower dish a try. It is very quick to assemble and surprises your taste buds in an extraordinarily pleasant way.


*  1 pkg. organic Penne pasta (about 400 g)

*  1 bigger head organic cauliflower, cut into smaller florets
*  salt and pepper to taste
*  olive oil
*  10 gloves of garlic, chopped
*   2 tablespoons fennel seeds
*   2 tins of anchovies with capers, drained and chopped
*   Red pepper flakes to taste
*   Pecorino Romano cheese


Preheat oven to 400 F.

Place the cauliflower on a baking sheet, sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes or until the cauliflower is starting to brown and almost done (you still want a little bit of bite).

In a smaller bowl mix together anchovies, fennel, garlic and red pepper flakes. I used about 1/2 teaspoon at first and sprinkled some more pepper flakes over the finished dish to the spiciness my family liked. You just have to try it.

Cook the pasta in salted water until al dente, drain, but reserve about 1 cup of pasta water.

Heat a little bit of olive oil in a bigger pan. Add the anchovy paste and cook, while stirring, for one minute. Mix in the cauliflower, pasta and some pasta water. Make sure the dish is heated through. Add more pasta water if the mixture seems to dry. Sprinkle with more pepper flakes and serve with grated Pecorino cheese on top.

Adapted from Adam “The Amateur Gourmet”.

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++MIRA++ January 26, 2011 at 4:47 pm

very interesting combo! salty, fishy creamy.

Karen Harris January 25, 2011 at 9:47 pm

This recipe sounds delicious and your photos look fabulous. So funny about your celebrity run in. I'll have to tell my husband about it, I bet he knows who he is.

Nuts about food January 25, 2011 at 11:04 am

I love the idea of roasted cauliflower and anchovies together. Mmmmmh

OohLookBel January 25, 2011 at 12:49 am

I was actually thinking of making (boring) cauliflower cheese tonight, but this is a much better option. Anything with anchovies in it is bound to be delicious!

Zoe January 24, 2011 at 11:17 pm

Love the photos. This dish look so delicious. I love roasted cauliflowers but I hate to wait for the long period of time for the roast to be ready…

A SPICY PERSPECTIVE January 24, 2011 at 2:13 pm

I'm with you~roasted cauliflower is so appealing. The pasta and cheese would play their part in helping the kiddos along as well!

druidaccountforsale January 24, 2011 at 5:46 am

Wow, that was deliciously easy. The photo was brilliant it makes me want to snatch the pasta out of your blog. Yum yum.

Guvi January 24, 2011 at 2:22 am

Your photos look just amazing! Roasted cauliflower is excellent, I made a version with tomatoes and green olives, and now I definitely must try yours!

Lea Ann January 24, 2011 at 2:16 am

Love the new photo header. Roasted..raw..baked..sauteed..pasta'd..we're big cauliflower fans in our house. Thanks for one more delicous recipe.

Stephanie January 23, 2011 at 8:13 pm

droool.. this looks soo good. I have coliflower in my fridge right now

Cathy January 23, 2011 at 1:44 pm

This reminds me of a very similar dish I had in Sicily years ago. The only difference was the addition of toasted pinenuts. This is on my "must try" list. Thanks.

scrambledhenfruit January 23, 2011 at 7:14 am

I love cauliflower but could never interest my children in it. I'll have put this on the table the next time they come to visit! It sounds delicious!

kitchen flavours January 23, 2011 at 4:01 am

Wow, this looks wonderful. Love the name spicy cauliflower! My family loves cauliflower, and I know that they will love this! Thanks for sharing!

kitchen roach/galley roach January 22, 2011 at 10:29 pm

und ich liebe Blumenkohl und Pasta, das wird ausprobiert.

Spätlese trocken January 22, 2011 at 9:24 pm

Ohje – das sieht so lecker aus. Ich glaub, da komme ich nicht dran vorbei. Das Kind liebt Nudeln, der Hausherr den Blumnekohl. So bekomme ich beide an einen Tisch. Danke für die schöne Anregung.
LG Frau Spätlese

Chele January 22, 2011 at 8:06 am

That looks wonderful. The flavour of roasted cauliflower is such a treat, now I want this for dinner tonight ;0)

Sage Trifle January 22, 2011 at 4:08 am

This sounds delicious and I must say only a food lover would think adding fennel, anchovies, capers, and pepper flakes would help a child be more likely to eat cauliflower. 😉

Carlos January 22, 2011 at 1:55 am

I just bought one package of Dreamfields pasta to create a pasta dish this weekend. Spicy cauliflower pasta dish sounds like a good recipe to prepare.
Dreamfields pasta have only 5 grams of digestible carbs. That is about 35 grams less than regular pasta. Less carbs = less insulin 🙂

Dom at Belleau Kitchen January 21, 2011 at 8:44 pm

love cauliflower so any excuse is good for me and roasting is a great idea! Thanks for the inspiration x

Elisabeth January 21, 2011 at 7:53 pm

Such an amazing idea to have as a pasta dish. Roasted cauliflower, anchovies w/capers, red pepper flakes, organic penne…the list goes on, and I'm dying to make this yummy penne…and oh, the Pecorino Romano cheese has more sharpness, than the Parmigiana. Love this dish!!!

From Beyond My Kitchen Window January 21, 2011 at 5:05 pm

This looks delicious. I have never roasted cauliflower but I am on Weight Watchers and all or most vegetables are free. I think I might make this with whole wheat pasta. Thanks for another good one.

EliFla January 21, 2011 at 5:05 pm

That's good..really gooooood…have a wonderful weekend…. hugs, Flavia

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