Whenever I ask Derek what veggies he wants me to get at the store he invariably asks for the same thing: broccoli and cauliflower. I have a few recipes that are my regular weeknight standbys for these vegetables (sesame noodles, pan-fried broccoli, stuffed hashbrowns, and cauliflower curry), but I’d like a few more recipes to add to the rotation. I found this recipe for Sicilian broccoli and cauliflower pasta on 101 cookbooks, and it looked like something Derek would love. Heidi warns that it is a large recipe, but I decided to make the whole thing nonetheless. Because it’s such a big recipe, the instructions say to saute the broccoli, cauliflower, and onions in separate batches. Between all the chopping and sauteing, this was a pretty time consuming recipe. It’s definitely not a quick week night meal, which is what I was looking for. The recipe, however, is competently done—the final pasta came out just as I imagine it was supposed to. The vegetables were well cooked, the onions and garlic created a nice flavor base, I could taste the saffron and a touch of sweet from the raisins, the olive oil and pine nuts added a nice mouth-feel without the dish tasting heavy, and the fresh parsley added a final touch of freshness. My only complaint is that I couldn’t taste the rosemary, and I think the saffron should be soaked in warm water before adding it to the dish. But otherwise the recipe is fine as is.
Although the recipe is correct, and doesn’t really need many changes, I’m not sure I would make this recipe again. It was a lot of work and the final dish was just not that exciting to me. I’ve tried this sort of recipe before (an Italian-inspired dish with cauliflower, pine nuts, raisins, and saffron), but every time I’ve made it I’ve been a bit bored by the dish. It’s has plenty of flavor, just not my preferred flavors. I might be more inclined to make this dish again if I could make it into a quick, weeknight meal, perhaps by cutting the recipe in half and boiling the broccoli and cauliflower in the pasta water.
Derek seemed to like the dish more than me. I asked him which he preferred, this recipe or my variant of Heidi’s harissa pasta with chard. To my surprise, he said he liked this one! But then later when I went to write up this post and asked him to give me his rating he seemed unexcited about the dish, and denied that he ever said he preferred it over the Harissa pasta.