Mario Batali’s Pennette with Cauliflower Ragu

Batali creates an out-of-the-ordinary sauce with cauliflower and bread crumbs.

| May 2010
Mario Batali’s Pennette with Cauliflower RaguQuentin Bacon

Ingredients

  • 1 medium cauliflower (about 2 lbs.)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium white onion, cut into 1/4-in. dice
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • Maldon or other flaky sea salt
  • 1 1/2 to 2 tsp. hot red pepper flakes
  • 6 tbs. unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 lb. pennette
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus extra for serving
  • 1/2 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs, sautéed in 1 tbs. olive oil until golden brown
  • 1 1/2 tsp. minced fresh rosemary

    How to make it 


  • 1

    Halve cauliflower. Remove leaves and cut out core and reserve. Cut cauliflower into small bite-size florets, reserving stalks. Chop core, leaves, and stalks.

  • 2

    Combine oil, onion, garlic, and cauliflower core, leaves, and stalks in large pot, season with sea salt, and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until leaves are just beginning to wilt, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, until leaves are just tender, 18 to 20 minutes.

  • 3

    Add cauliflower florets, red pepper flakes, and 1 cup water and bring to simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to gentle simmer, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is almost falling apart, 22 to 25 minutes. Add butter, stirring gently until it melts; season well with sea salt. Remove from heat.

  • 4

    Bring 6 quarts water to boil in large pot and add 3 tbs. kosher salt. Drop in pasta and cook until just al dente.

  • 5

    Drain pasta, reserving about 1/3 cup pasta water. Add pasta and 1/3 cup reserved water to ragu. Toss over medium heat until pasta is well coated (add more pasta water to thin sauce). Stir in cheese.

  • 6

    Transfer pasta to serving bowl, sprinkle with bread crumbs and rosemary, and serve with additional grated cheese. Serves 6.


MOLTO GUSTO: EASY ITALIAN COOKING,” BY MARIO BATALI AND MARK LADNER, COPYRIGHT © 2010 BY MARIO BATALI, IS PUBLISHED AT $29.99 BY ECCO/HARPERCOLLINS, 10 EAST 53RD STREET, NEW YORK, NEW YORK, 10022 PHOTOS: QUENTIN BACON

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