Every week on the Good Food Blog we celebrate Meatless Monday by sharing a vegetarian recipe from our archives.
Ziti and Cauliflower Gratin (Ziti con Cavolfiore in Crostata al Forno)
This oven-baked ziti from the area around Caltanissetta and Ragusa is very pretty, with the vermilion flecks of saffron against the yellow pasta.
1 medium cauliflower head (about 2 pounds)
Pinch of saffron
1 garlic clove, lightly crushed and peeled
3 anchovy fillets, rinsed and patted dry
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons pine nuts
1 1/4 pounds ziti
1/2 cup freshly grated pecorino
1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and place the whole cauliflower in it. Cook until the cauliflower is slightly resistant to a fork, about 12 minutes. Drain, saving the cooking water. Break up the cauliflower into small florets and set aside. Remove 1/4 cup of the cauliflower water and dissolve the saffron in it.
3. In a large frying pan, saute the cauliflower, garlic, anchovies, and 4 Tablespoons of the olive oil over high heat for 2 minutes. Add the pine nuts and saute for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and set aside.
4. Bring the cauliflower water to a boil and add a bit more salt. Parboil the ziti until they are half done. Drain well.
5. Pour the ziti into a large, deep, oiled ovenproof casserole. Stir in half the cauliflower and half the cheese. Sprinkle with the saffron water and mix gently. Spread the remaining cauliflower and cheese on top. Drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and place in the oven for 15 minutes. Serve immediately.