Seasonal local food recipe No 90: Penne with cauliflower and chilli

From Annie Bell’s Evergreen. She recommends ‘any squat and tubular pasta’ and says that both the cauliflower and the pasta should be ‘on the firm side. The sauce is richly flavoured and hot, and just coats the pasta and cauliflower. Parmesan would be out of place.’

Serves 4
Preparation and cooking: 15-20 minutes

400g cauliflower florets (1 large cauliflower)
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 level tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp harissa
3 tbsp olive oil
450g tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped (or a tin of chopped tomatoes)
salt, pepper
225g penne

Cut the cauliflower into 1cm florets. Finely chop the garlic cloves. Dilute the tomato puree with 3 tbsp of water and stir in the harissa. Take a deep frying pan and heat the olive oil. Cook the garlic until it gives off an aroma, then add the tomato solution, the chopped tomatoes and seasoning. Simmer the sauce for a couple of minutes. Add the cauliflower and cook, covered, for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. It should remain on the firm side.

While the cauliflower is cooking, boil the pasta, leaving it firm to the bite. Drain it, though not too dry, and toss it with the cauliflower. Adjust the seasoning and serve.

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