Skye McAlpine’s Pasta chi Vruocculi Arriminati is delicious. From the “What to Do at Home” section of the New York Times. My tips from having made it just the once, the crunch of the breadcrumbs and pine nuts is very important and make sure to mix well you want the sauce coating the pasta. I used golden raisins because I thought they’d look great with the saffron.
1 whole cauliflower (roughly chopped into florets)
2 ½ ounces pine nuts
3 ounces stale bread
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra to serve
1 onion, chopped
8 anchovy fillets
2 ½ ounces raisins
1 teaspoon saffron strands
14 ounces linguine
1. Bring a large saucepan of generously salted water to boil. Add the cauliflower florets to the water and turn the heat down to a gentle simmer. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until the cauliflower can easily be cut through with a butter knife.
2. While the cauliflower is cooking, toast the pine nuts in a medium-size frying pan for 2-3 minutes over medium heat, giving the pan an occasional shake, until they are golden brown. Set aside.
3. Tear the bread into chunks and blend in a food processor to make coarse crumbs. Using the same pan you cooked the pine nuts in, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat and add the bread crumbs. Fry gently, shaking the pan occasionally, for 4-5 minutes until they turn crisp and golden, then take off the heat and set aside.
4. In a second, large frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat, add the onion and a generous pinch of salt. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until the onion becomes soft and translucent. Add the anchovies to the pan, and fry gently until they melt into the onions. Then add the raisins and the toasted pine nuts. Stir and turn the heat to a simmer.
5. Use a pestle and mortar to grind the saffron and a pinch of salt into a fine red powder. Scoop out a splash (roughly 1-2 tablespoons) of the cooking water into a small cup; add the powdered saffron and set to one side to infuse for a few minutes.
6. When the cauliflower is cooked, use a slotted spoon to scoop the florets out of the water and toss them into the pan with the onion mix. Save the cooking water. Pour the saffron-infused liquid over the cauliflower, and stir, breaking up any large pieces of cauliflower with a wooden spoon. Season with salt to taste.
7. Cook the pasta in the same water as the cauliflower (top it up with fresh water if needed) until al dente, as per the instructions on the packet.
8. When the pasta is cooked, scoop out half a cup of the cooking water and set aside. Drain the pasta and toss it into the pan with the sauce and the reserved cooking water, and stir together
so the pasta is coated in sauce.
9. Spoon the pasta chi vruocculi arriminati onto a large serving dish, add a generous drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle the bread crumbs on top. Eat immediately.
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