Pasta with Cauliflower and Raisins

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Try this unexpected Sicilian pasta dish!

In Italy, certain pasta dishes come from particular regions. We’ll take you to the island of Sicily, just miles from the toe of Italy’s boot, where kitchens are rich in flavor and healthy ingredients. This particular pasta is a traditional recipe in many homes. Boiled cauliflower plays the protagonist, sautèed with onions and mixed with raisins, pine nuts, and a pinch of saffron. Cauliflower is low both in fat and carbohydrates, and high in vitamin C and fiber. It’s perfectly healthy and absolutely delicious!

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Pasta with Cauliflower and Raisins

A traditional Sicilian recipe, this pasta features cauliflower and raisins that give the dish a hearty and delicious bite.
Yield 6 people
Serving Size 1 cup
Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian


  • 1 head cauliflower cut into florets
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons raisins
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion medium, coarsely chopped
  • 1 pinch of saffron powder or pistils (smoked paprika can be used if unable to find saffron)
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 14 ounces short whole-wheat pasta mezze maniche, penne, rigatoni, etc.


  • On high heat, boil a big pot of water for the cauliflower. When it boils, add a pinch of salt then put the cauliflower. Cook them until they become soft then drain. Save the water.
  • In a small bowl, soak the raisins in water for 10 minutes. Drain then discard the water. Set the raisins aside.
  • On medium heat, in a saucepan with extra virgin olive oil, sautè the onion. After two minutes, add the cauliflower and about 1/2 cup of the water used in cooking the cauliflower. Cook the cauliflower until it becomes creamy. Add more water if needed as you cook.
  • In a small bowl, mix the saffron with about two tablespoons of water. Add the saffron, raisins and pine nuts.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • While cooking cauliflower, start boiling a big pot of water for the pasta. When the water boils, add some salt then put the pasta. Cook them according to the number of minutes indicated in the package.
  • Mixed the cooked pasta with the cauliflower. Add more water (used in cooking the cauliflower) if needed.
  • Serve while hot.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 338kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 224mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 3g |
SmartPoints (Freestyle): 10
Keywords Budget-Friendly, Diabetic-Friendly, Pasta, Vegetarian

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Rowena Dumlao-Giardina

Rowena is a recipe developer and food & travel writer/photographer from Italy with Asian roots. Creating healthy dishes in her own kitchen is priority. She believes there is nothing more satisfying than knowing that her family is eating natural & nutritious meals.

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