Spring Fever: Sicilian-Style Cauliflower with Whole Wheat Fussili

After a week of being sick and a rainy April weekend, the only thing that could lift my spirits before another Monday was to get into the kitchen. I went to the grocery store looking for inspiration…I wanted something healthy and hearty. Comfort food, to me, is whole wheat pasta. I always try to mix it up with somthing fresh and cauliflower was calling my name. I came across this recipe from foodnetwork.com and modified to my liking. This is one that you have to try! Serves 4.

Sicilian-Style Cauliflower with Whole Wheat Pasta
3/4 lb whole-wheat fussili pasta
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
5 cups cauliflower florets, cut into bite-size pieces
2 small shallots, sliced in thin rings
2 garlic cloves, smashed
3/4 cups water
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp golden raisins
1 tsp honey
1 Tbsp capers
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh thyme
2 tsp fennel seeds
Freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp pine nuts, toasted
3 Tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup grated fresh Pecorino Romano, plus more as needed

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat, then salt it generously. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta. Transfer to a large bow and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat 2 Tbsp of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cauliflower, shallots, and garlic, and cook until the cauliflower is well browned, about 8 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the remaining 2 Tbsp of oil, salt, water, vinegar, raisins, honey, capers, thyme, bay leaf, fennel seeds and season with black pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until cauliflower is fork tender, about 7 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the pine nuts and parsley. Remove and discard the thyme sprig and bay leaf.Toss the vegetables and pasta together along with the pecorino. Drizzle with additional olive oil, if desired. Serve immediately.

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