Cauliflower Sauce for Pasta 02.01.2008

This is genuine Italian poverty food. Its got one main ingredient – the very humble cauliflower – and at the end you’d have no idea that its cauliflower…which I think is perfect.


  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 onion
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • a couple of slices of bacon/pancetta/your preferred bit of pig (optional)
  • oil…a solid slug or two – be generous
  • 1 stock cube
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • pepper
  • parmesan rinds (optional)
  • parmesan cheese
  • a good handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • salt to taste
  • pasta – penne is good because the sauce gets in the middle.


  • Finely dice the onion and bacon (optional..obviously ceases to be vegetarian if pig is involved) and chop the garlic. Fry gently in the oil in a roomy frypan/saucepan that has a well-fitting lid.

  • Cut the cauliflower into small florets. Dice the stalk as well.

  • Once the onion & garlic has coloured slightly and softened, throw in the cauliflower, a couple of bay leaves, a crumbled stock cube, 2-3 tablespoons of water, the parmesan rinds (if you have them).

  • Put the lid on and let it very gently cook for an hour or more.

  • Stir gently occasionally.

  • If it sticks slightly that's good, the browny bits taste good. It should become very mushy - no-one would ever realise its cauliflower at the end.

  • Stir through parsley and parmesan at the end of cooking. Add salt and pepper to taste.

  • Cook pasta and stir through the sauce.

Feeds 4-6.

File under vegetarian

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Ingrid is slowly and conscientiously sampling her way through the food of Southern Vietnam.

Comments on Cauliflower Sauce for Pasta

Virginia on 02 January 2008:

I think this will be my dinner tonight. Hooray! Thank you Ingrid.

Susannah on 03 January 2008:

nom nom nom

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