Seasonal local food recipe No.138: Roasted cauliflower gigli with pine nuts and currants

We’re continuing with the roasted cauliflower theme this week, this time with pasta. It’s another delicious vegetarian dish from restauranteur/chef Yotam Ottolenghi. He says: “The sweet and salty combination of currants and capers is a Sicilian mix that’s both interesting and scrumptious. I love it.”

Gigli are fluted, flower-shaped pasta (gigli is Italian for lilies). They’re good with a hearty, chunky sauce like this one.  

Serves: four

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes

1 medium cauliflower (around 480g)
3 tbsp olive oil
Salt and black pepper
65g currants
2½ tbsp white-wine vinegar
½ tsp caster sugar
¼ tsp saffron strands
2 red onions, peeled and cut into large dice
4 stalks celery, the stems cut on an angle into 1cm slices, the leaves picked and torn
3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
250g gigli (or campanelle, or other short pasta)
50g pine nuts, toasted
20g salted capers, rinsed
20g parsley leaves, roughly chopped
10g celery leaves

Heat the oven to 240C/465F/gas mark 9. Break the cauliflower into bite-sized florets. Toss with a tablespoon of oil and a pinch of salt, spread on an oven tray and bake until golden and semi-cooked, about 15 minutes.

In a small saucepan, gently warm the currants, vinegar, sugar and saffron, then set aside to infuse.

Pour the remaining oil into a very large sauté pan. Add the onion and celery stems, fry on medium-high heat until they begin to colour and soften – about eight minutes – then add the roasted cauliflower and garlic, and sauté for three minutes.

Meanwhile, boil the pasta in plenty of salted water until al dente. Drain and add to the cauliflower pan. Stir in the pine nuts, capers, currant mix, half a teaspoon of salt and lots of black pepper, taste and adjust the seasoning. Stir in the parsley and celery leaves, and serve immediately.

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