paccheri pasta with a quick spicy cauliflower ragu


1 lb spaghetti, rigatoni or paccheri pasta

1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil

1 white onion, diced

6 cloves of garlic, sliced

1 tbsp chilli flake

1 lb cauliflower leaves + all, chopped in a food processor

1 cup white wine

1 cup water or broth

1/2 cup of parm, plus more to finish

1/2 lemon, juiced

salt, to season + finish

black pepper, to season + finish


start by cutting up the cauliflower into smaller chunks and add to a food processor with some of the leaves as well. pulse until the cauliflower is like a rice consistency.

now add the olive oil to a heavy bottomed pan with a lid (like a dutch oven) and add the onions and garlic and sauté on medium heat for 6-8 minutes, until soft. add the chili flakes to bloom in the hot oil. season with salt and pepper to taste.

now add the riced cauliflower to the pan and stir to coat in the oil, onion + garlic mixture. Stir for another 5 minutes. season with salt and pepper again to taste.

add the cup of white wine to the mixture, and carry on cooking until the wine has cooked off, usually around 5 minutes or so.

lower the heat to medium / low and add the lid, keep the mixture blipping for 25-30 minutes. keep an eye and add extra water when necessary, making sure that the mixture never burns.

the cauliflower mixture should be an almost thick paste-like consistancy, and not watery. if watery keep cooking on low until most of the water has evaporated.

now it’s time to cook the pasta, according to the instructions on the packet. once pasta is cooked, drain + reserve a cup of the pasta water—and set it aside.

add the pasta into the cauliflower mixture, with the parmesan cheese and stir vigorously to combine. add a dash of the reserved pasta water where needed, to get the desired sauce consistency. it should be thick and creamy.

serve with a squeeze of lemon, flaky sea salt, black pepper on the big grind + lashings of freshly grated parmesan.