Ditaloni with Purple Cauliflower.
I loved the idea of this Calabrian ditaloni with purple cauliflower because it looked so pretty in the pictures I found when I first came across this recipe. But, it’s not just a pretty pasta dish, it’s very tasty too!
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.The 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! They sell it in Southern Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. This veggie has a head shaped like cauliflower. But, the head consists of tiny purple flower buds which have a cream coloured stem and core.
To be honest, I loved the idea of this Calabrian ditaloni with purple cauliflower pasta dish! It looked so pretty in the pictures I found when I first came across it. When I made this recipe, it turned out to be not only really attractive, 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. Of course, you can make this recipe with other types of broccoli too. I think Romanesco broccoli would be great too!
I guess, it would also be possible to make a vegetarian version by leaving out the pancetta. Non-vegans could add something like a smoked cheese 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.
If you do try this purple cauliflower pasta, I’d love to hear what you think. Please write a comment here on the blog or post a comment on the Pasta Project Facebook page.
Your feedback means a lot to me!
Other pasta recipes with broccoli.
- Romanesco broccoli pasta soup from Rome
- Sicilian broccoli pasta with sausage
- Orecchiette with broccoli rabe recipe from Puglia
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Ditaloni with Purple Cauliflower
- 500 g ditaloni (1lb) or other short tubular pasta
- 80 g provola cheese (3oz) grated
- 80 g pecorino cheese (3oz) grated
- salt for pasta and to taste
- 1 kg purple cauliflower (2 lbs)
- 80 g pancetta (3oz) cubed
- 1-2 garlic cloves peeled and finely chopped
- 1/2 fresh red chilli pepper (peperoncino) finely chopped
- 3 tbsp extra virgin 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