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Whole Wheat Penne and Cauliflower

Whole Wheat Penne and Cauliflower


  • Salt and pepper

  • 1 pound whole wheat penne pasta

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

  • 1/4 pound pancetta, finely chopped (optional)

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets

  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 3 large cloves garlic, chopped

  • 3 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)

  • Freshly grated nutmeg

  • 1/2 cup white wine

  • 1/2 cup chicken stock

  • 1 cup grated Pecorino Romano or extra-sharp white cheddar cheese

  • 1 bunch watercress or 1 packed cup spinach, chopped


Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain. While the pasta is working, in a large skillet, heat the EVOO, two turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta, if using, and cook until the fat renders, about 2 minutes. Stir in the cauliflower, onion, garlic and rosemary; season with salt, pepper and a little nutmeg. Cook, stirring occasionally, until just softened, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook until slightly reduced, about 1 minute. Add the stock and cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the pasta and cheese and toss. Serve in shallow bowls, topped with the watercress.