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 if 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 made it, 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 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 love it.
- 500 g ditaloni or other short tubular pasta
- 80 g grated provola cheese
- 80 g grated pecorino cheese
- 1 kg purple cauliflower
- 50 g cubed pancetta
- 1-2 finely chopped garlic cloves
- 1 finely chopped fresh red chilli pepper (peperoncino)
- olive oil
- Divide the cauliflower into florets and boil in salted boiling water for 5-10 minutes until al dente, drain and keep aside.
- In a pan heat the oil and let the bacon and garlic brown slightly.
- Add the cauliflower and cook for another 3-4 minutes, stir, add salt to taste.
- Meanwhile cook the ditaloni al dente in salted boiling water.
- Drain the pasta and return to the pan.
- Transfer the cauliflower and pancetta mix to the pasts pan, mix everything together well and cook for a minute to incorporate the flavours into the pasta.
- Sprinkle with the grated provola and pecorino cheese, stir again.
- Transfer the pasta onto a serving platter, sprinkle with the finely chopped fresh chilli and serve.
- Buon Appetito
- Ditaloni, ditalini and ditali are the various dimensions /sizes of this type of pasta. The ditaloni used in this recipe are about 13 mm long and 9 mm in diameter. You can used grooved or smooth pasta for this recipe.