Ditaloni with Purple Cauliflower
Italians call it purple broccoli. In English it’s a purple cauliflower so, never having eaten it before, I had to do a little reading to find out what kind of veg it really is, I learnt some interesting things, if you’re into veg facts that is!
1.Purple cauliflower comes from only Italy or South Africa.
2.Its colour is natural and not due to any scientific playing around!
3.In fact, the colour is due to the presence of an antioxidant called anthocyanin, which can also be found in red cabbage and red wine!
4.Its flavor is milder, sweeter, nuttier and less bitter than white cauliflower.
5.Its available all year round.
6.The colour is water-soluble because when you boil it, the water turns purple! (I wonder if it would make a good natural dye!)
And most importantly the reason that Italians call it ‘broccoli’ is because ‘purple cauliflower’ is actually a type of broccoli sold in southern Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. It has a head shaped like cauliflower, but consists of tiny purple flower buds which have a cream coloured stem and core.
To be honest, I loved the idea of this Calabrian pasta dish because it looked so pretty in the pictures I found when I first came across it. When I made this dish, it turned out to be not only a really attractive dish, which my dinner guests loved, but, more importantly, very tasty too. Although not a complicated recipe the combination of the cheese, pancetta, cauliflower and peperoncino blend together to give this pasta an unusually robust taste for a dish without tomatoes or red meat. I guess, it would also be possible to make a vegetarian version by leaving out the pancetta and adding something like a smoked cheese, if you’re not vegan, to replace the bacon flavour a little. But, whichever way you cook this dish, I’m sure you family and guests are going to fall love in love with it.
(See the recipe on the next page)