• 1 lb cauliflower
  • 1 large shallot
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 4 anchovies, packed in oil, drained
  • kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp aleppo chile flakes, or other mild chile flakes
  • 1 lb spaghetti
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, (2.5 oz), plus more for serving
  • 1 handful mint, roughly chopped
  • ½ lemon


1. Trim the base of the cauliflower but don’t core it. Snap off the outermost leaves from the base and leave the pale green inner ones. Roughly chop the cauliflower. Working in two batches, transfer cauliflower to a food processor and pulse until pieces are no bigger than 1⁄2-inch (some cauliflower bits will be smaller). Finely chop the shallot. Thinly slice the garlic.
2. Heat olive oil in a medium Dutch oven or other heavy- bottomed pot over medium. Add shallot and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook until garlic is translucent, about 2 minutes. Add anchovies and cook, stirring, until anchovies disintegrate, 1 minute more. Add cauliflower and season with mild chile flakes plus more salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until cauliflower is coated in oil and starting to sweat, 5 to 7 minutes. Lower heat to very low, cover pot, and cook, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is lightly browned and essentially rendered to very tasty mush, 30 to 35 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. When cauliflower is almost done, add spaghetti to water and cook, stirring occasionally, until very al dente, 3 to 4 minutes less than package instructions (do not overcook; it will finish cooking in sauce). Using tongs or a mesh spider, transfer pasta to cauliflower along with about 1 cup pasta cooking liquid (or, reserve about 2 cups of cooking liquid, then drain pasta in a colander). Bring sauce to a simmer over medium-high and cook pasta, stirring and tossing constantly as you gradually add 1⁄2 cup Parm. Continue to cook, tossing and adding more pasta liquid as needed, until spaghetti is just al dente and sauce has thickened enough to generously coat pasta, 3 to 4 minutes. Squeeze juice from lemon halves into pot and add mint; stir to combine. Serve pasta with more parm at the table.


Romanesco is a great sub for cauliflower; or use broccoli. In summer, try this with zucchini, which might take longer to cook because of its water content. Half a small onion can replace the shallot.

Omit the anchovies if you don’t like them; a few dashes of fish sauce at the end of cooking can be used in their place. This sauce would also work with a short tube, such as mezze rigatoni, or something curly, like fusilli.


Carla Lalli Music


4 servings




European : Mediterranean : Italian