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Spaghetti with Romanesco Broccoli and Black Olives

Updated February 23, 2016
This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

In Italy, cauliflower can be white, purple, or light green. The variety I’ve used here is Romanesco broccoli, but it is actually a green cauliflower. Very delicate in taste and texture, it requires a watchful eye to avoid overcooking. Ricotta salata is fresh ricotta salted to shed moisture. It is tangy and moist, but firm.

4 servings

CostInexpensive

Easy

Total Timeunder 30 minutes

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Cooking for a date

Recipe Courseappetizer, main course

Dietary Considerationvegetarian

Five Ingredients or LessYes

Mealdinner, lunch

Taste and Texturecheesy, light, salty, savory

Type of Dishdry pasta

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 small heads Romanesco broccoli, white cauliflower, or Broccoflower
  • Sea salt
  • 12 oil-cured black olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 1 pound imported thick or regular spaghetti
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup freshly grated pecorino Romano cheese, plus extra for serving
  • Ricotta salata, shaved paper-thin

Instructions

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan and add the onion. Cook over low heat until soft and translucent, about 8 minutes.

Core the cauliflowers and cut into bite-size florets. Add the cauliflower, ¾ cup water, and a touch of salt to the onion; cook at a simmer until the florets are tender but hold their shape. Stir in the olives and simmer until hot.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the spaghetti until al dente. Drain.

Toss the pasta with the sauce. Season with pepper to taste. Sprinkle about ¼ cup pecorino over the pasta and gently toss. Top with shavings of ricotta salata. Serve with additional grated pecorino at the table.

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