1 pound penne rigate
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
A small handful of golden raisins
1 lemon, zested
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
A generous pinch of saffron (20-24 threads)
1 head white, yellow or orange cauliflower, cored
2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (a couple of handfuls)
Toasted sliced almonds, thinly sliced basil leaves, and chopped flat leaf parsley, for garnish
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook to al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the starchy cooking water.
While the pasta is working, in a large, deep skillet or a Dutch oven fitted with a lid, heat the EVOO, two turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Stir in the onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes. Add the raisins and lemon zest and cook for a few minutes more. Stir in the stock and saffron and bring to a simmer.
In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the cauliflower until tender, 12-5 minutes. Drain and coarsely mash with a wooden spoon or potato masher. Stir in the butter to melt, then add the pasta and reserved pasta water; toss to combine. Add in the cheese as you toss.
Serve the penne in shallow bowls. Top with the almonds, basil and parsley.