Recipe: Cauliflower and Pasta Puttanesca

Pasta Puttanesca is so quick and simple to make, but comes with huge flavor. You might have to pick up a couple of unusual ingredients depending on what you usually have in your pantry, but it’s worth it. It also needs very little human intervention or prep time, so it’s a perfect dish to put together in between Hearthstone games or whatever you might be up to.

In my version of puttanesca I replace half the pasta with cauliflower. It’s just lighter and better for a hot summer night.

Pasta Puttanesca
Serves 2

1/2 head of cauliflower
1 cup of penne or whatever pasta you have the cupboard
3 anchovy fillets
3 (at least) cloves of garlic
half a can of whole tomatoes
a handful of pitted kalamata olives
a handful of capers
dried basil
some salt and pepper
olive oil
fresh chopped Italian parsley
an optional slice of good crusty bread


Break down the cauliflower into bite sized florets. Heat some olive oil in a pan and then throw the cauliflower in at medium temperature. Let it sizzle for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile start some water for the pasta and cook as directed for al dente.

Roughly chop up the garlic. Add it, the anchovy fillets, the basil, and salt and pepper to the hot cauliflower pan. Mash up the anchovy while it cooks, and stir it all in.

Add the capers and olives and let everything cook together on medium-hot for just a couple of minutes. Then add the whole tomatoes (and the juice they’re packed in). I usually cut them in half with my spatula.

Turn down the sauce and let it simmer for 15 minutes. Throw in the cooked, rinsed pasta at the end.

Serve with a sprinkling of fresh chopped parsley and optionally a slice of crusty bread.

Jessica, aka Liore, can usually be found griping about video games on her blog and podcast at Herding Cats, or on Twitter. She likes saying “flavor profile” and going light on the carbs, and dislikes measuring things. Jessica is currently obsessed with Korean cuisine.