I was inspired to create this pasta after tasting my husband’s lunch at Trattoria Da Leo in Lucca, Italy. It’s not exactly the same but it’s still damned good. I like to use cauliflower when it’s in season because I think it’s sweeter, but this can be made anytime and will still be a great dish of pasta.
Makes 4 Servings
1 small cauliflower
¼ cup EVOO (you can use up to 1/3 cup of oil)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
1/8 – ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes, or to taste
½ lb. Italian sweet sausage, skin removed & crumbled
½ cup dry white wine
1/2 cup Passata or 4 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded & coarsely chopped
½ cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp. finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 tsp. dried oregano or 3 – 4 fresh sage leaves, chopped
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
Grated Parmigiano Reggiano
12 oz. to 16 oz. Strozzapreti or Casarecce pasta (or any short pasta shape)
Place a serving bowl in a the oven at it’s lowest setting oven to warm.
Wash & trim the cauliflower; separate into small flowerets. Set aside. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1-2 Tbsp. salt.
Meanwhile, heat EVOO on medium heat in a large sauté pan & cook the onion until soft; add the sausage, breaking up lumps with a fork until no longer pink & just lightly browned Add the garlic, parsley & red pepper flakes; sauté for a minute then add the chopped sage. Stir in the wine & reduce by half & add the tomatoes; continue cooking for a few minutes, reducing longer if using fresh tomatoes. Add the cauliflower; cover the pan & continue cooking over low heat for about 20-30 minutes or until cauliflower is tender. Add the cream & cook for a few minutes more.
In the meantime, brink a large pot of water to the boil. Add the pasta & cook the until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta cooking water; drain the pasta. Add the cooked pasta to the cauliflower sauce & toss for a minute or so to coat with sauce, adding pasta cooking water if it appears too dry. Remove from the heat & add freshly grated Parmigiano. Place the pasta in a large heated bowl & serve.
To see how to prepare the tomatoes, click Peeling & Seeding Tomatoes.