Once upon a time I made this amazing broccoli pasta dish which used orecchiette, broccoli and breadcrumbs. I loved it, and if I remember correctly, one other person loved it too. Everyone else not so much. From that point on this culinary masterpiece was known as breadcrumb pasta, and a huge fuss was made every time I suggested we experience its deliciousness again. Unsurprisingly, given the response it elicited, I made it once…maybe twice. I still have very fond memories of broccoli orecchiette, and it brings a smile to my face when I think about the impact small people can have on what we once ate. Pick your battles I say, and broccoli orecchiette wasn’t one of them.
Skip forward quite a few years and I’ve discovered another breadcrumb pasta dish. Gone is the orecchiette, replaced by spaghetti; broccoli replaced by cauliflower; but standing firm and bringing delight are the toasted breadcrumbs. Claudia gives it the tick of approval, and that’s a good enough reason for you all to try it. And just saying… after all those years of turning my nose up at cauliflower, I am now a fully fledged member of the cauliflower fan club.
Pasta is always my go to when the thought of cooking dinner is too much. I usually opt for throwing together tomato pasta, because there is always a tin of tomatoes on the shelf. But if you happen to have cauliflower and olives hanging around in the fridge, this is a great alternative when you just want something quick and simple. Once you’ve chopped the vegetables, this dish takes no longer to cook than it takes to boil the spaghetti. Then again, you always just pop to the shop and buy everything you need.
One thing you need to know: serve as soon as you’ve added the breadcrumbs and parmesan. Don’t be tempted to stir them through. You see it’s the crunch of the breadcrumbs that makes all the difference. Enjoy!
- 400 grams spaghetti
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ large cauliflower, or a whole small one, chopped into small florets
- 4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
- 2 red chillies, finely chopped
- 100 grams kalamata olives, pitted and quartered
- 2 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 60 grams fresh breadcrumbs, toasted
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan
- juice of ½ lemon
- lemon wedges to serve
- Cook the spaghetti in salted, boiling water, then drain.
- While the spaghetti is cooking:
- In a large heavy-based frying pan, heat the olive oil over a medium heat. Add the cauliflower and fry until just starting to colour (4 - 5 minutes).
- Add the sliced garlic and cook, stirring for 1 minute.
- Add the chillies, olives and rosemary and cook for 5 minutes or until the cauliflower starts to become tender. Stir constantly so that it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Add the cooked spaghetti and mix thoroughly. Squeeze over the juice of ½ a lemon and stir.
- Top with the toasted breadcrumbs and parmesan. Serve immediately.
- Serve with lemon wedges.