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Active time
45 minutes
Total time
60 minutes
4 servings
Serving Size
1/4 of recipe

¾ cup slightly coarse fresh bread crumbs, preferably whole grain

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

Salt, for the cooking water

1 medium head cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets

4 to 6 anchovy fillets, patted dry and minced

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

6 scallions, white parts finely chopped, and greens cut into 1-inch pieces

½ teaspoon mellow red pepper flakes, such as Marash or Aleppo, or ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

½ cup dry white wine or dry vermouth

12 ounces fettuccine, bucatini, spaghetti, or other long dried pasta, preferably whole grain

¾ cup green olives, such as Castelvetrano, Lucques, or Cerignola, pitted and coarsely chopped

Freshly ground black pepper

  1. Heat the oven to 375°F convection (or 400°F non-convection) with a rack near the center.
  2. Toast the bread crumbs. Spread the bread crumbs on a rimmed baking sheet, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the oil, and season with salt. Toss to mix, then spread into an even, loose layer. Toast in the oven, shaking and stirring about halfway through, until the crumbs are toasty and crisp, about 6 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Fill a large pasta pot about two-thirds full with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add a good palmful of salt, then add the cauliflower and boil until just crisp-tender, about 3 minutes; it should still have plenty of resistance when pierced with the tip of a knife. Using a slotted spoon or skimmer, transfer the cauliflower to a colander to drain. (Keep the water hot for cooking the pasta.)
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Give the cauliflower several shakes to eliminate excess water, then drop it into the hot oil. It will sputter and spit, but it will settle down as the moisture evaporates. Cook, stirring frequently, until the cauliflower develops dark brown edges, about 6 minutes (don’t worry if some of the florets crumble—this will add body to the sauce). Adjust the heat to medium, add the anchovies, garlic, scallion whites, and red pepper flakes, and cook, stirring frequently, without letting the garlic burn, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the wine or vermouth, bring to a simmer, stirring to incorporate all the seasonings, and let it bubble until reduced by about half, another 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  5. Return the pot of water to a rapid boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions until just shy of al dente. Scoop out 1 cup of the pasta cooking water and set aside. Drain the pasta, giving it a shake but not worrying about getting rid of all the water, and add to the skillet with the cauliflower mixture.
  6.  Return the pasta and cauliflower to medium-high heat. Add ½ cup of the reserved pasta cooking water and heat, tossing once or twice, until warmed through, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the olives and reserved scallion greens, toss, and heat for a few minutes so that the flavors meld, adding more pasta water as needed to create a very light sauce. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, or to taste. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with the bread crumbs sprinkled on top.

Recipe from All About Dinner by Molly Stevens, copyright 2019. Published by W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., New York, NY. An Oldways photo.


Calories: 530
Total Fat: 22g
Saturated Fat: 2.5g
Carbohydrate: 60g
Fiber: 13g
Total Sugar: 4g
Added Sugars: 0g
Protein: 15g

Yield: 4 servings

Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe

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