Orecchiette with Roasted Cauliflower, Raisins and Walnuts

Of all the pasta shapes I think Orecchiette (little ears) is one of my favorites.

In this dish what may seem like unusual flavors are quite good ~
I like recipes that introduce us to new (new, to us) delicious flavor combinations.

This very old recipe is one of those ~
I find it brings a perfect balance; at once rich and buttery, a little salty and with small hints of sweetness with every few bites.
The straight-foward simplicity of it all!
No heavy, gloppy, fat laden sauce. I love this method of serving pasta.
And roasting is one of my favorite ways of preparing cauliflower ~ the taste, aroma and flavor mellow and the texture becomes more interesting than when steamed or boiled. Along with the orecchiette, it provides the perfect background when added to the crisp, buttery flavor of the toasted walnuts. Plumped and roasted raisins add a slightly sweet balance.

The original recipe calls for an Italian condiment known as Colatura.
Hmm. Not in MY pantry.
Since I didn't have any on hand I omitted it.

Photo MHFoods

Colatura is syrupy liquid extracted from anchovies while processing and requires 5 months to produce. Its roots are traced back to ancient Rome. I had thought of incorporating some form of anchovy into the dish to compensate for it, but since one of us is NOT a huge fan of anchovies I simply omitted.
I did increase the amount of salt on the cauliflower while roasting to make up for extra flavor the Coladura would have provided.
Obviously a compromise, but one I can live with ~unless some day I have a chance to taste the real thing~ and find I've been mistaken.
And in that case, I'll be back immediately to tell you so. :D

We liked this recipe very much and I would definitely consider making it again ~ it's not heavy, is vegetarian friendly and (without the Coladura*) is budget friendly!
* If you can find it, 3 ounces of Coladura sells for around $25.

You may want to keep this one in mind when you're looking for a quick and healthy meal. Satisfying, delicious and comforting with wonderful flavors.
For a printable version of the recipe click HERE
to visit the OUaP recipe blog.
Thanks for coming by today!


  1. I have never heard of Orecchiette or Coladura. :) Two new things I learnt today. I think the pasta looks adorable!

  2. Looks delish and I learned something new! That is always a good thing.

  3. I adore roasted cauliflower. As a matter of fact, I just did a blog post about it. As Always, love your photos.


  4. If those are called little ears then I adore them too! how cute is that! little ears...o my....and the roasted cauliflowers looks so good ..ive never roasted cauliflower n I wonder what it tastes like!? i must try. :)

  5. I will certainly keep this one in mind, looks delicious!

  6. What a gorgeous dish. We usually stear away from cauliflower but you've made it a winner in this. I wasn't familiar with Colatura either.

  7. Mari, you have done it again. Inspired me to fix a vegetable that is usually last on my list ~ cauliflower. But here you make it sounds so delicious. Many thanks...

  8. Mary..I love your dishes(I have some too:) )..the meal.. the pasta..

    Josée Distasio has a similar one we make..Cauliflower and pasta work so well together..I had never heard of the anchovy product but Jacques would love it..I'll keep my eyes peeled.I find I can add a few smashed anchovies and enjoy..but when I see his pizza laden w/ them and that's all I smell..oyoyoy..

  9. This is definitely an intriguing combination. Sounds delicious!

  10. I love the colour on the cauliflower. Stunning as usual, Mari :)

  11. A fantastic recipe that shelly kinda pasta...
    And the flavourful flavs w a combi that am sure i'll love....

  12. Oh of my favorite pasta shapes...nice and chewy!
    Beautiful pics!

  13. Grins, I'm not big on anchovies either. So far I've made it through life without them, but I have been feeling that I should give them a try again.... I'm going to pass on the syrup, would take your advice on the added salt. This dish sounds delightful. Love cauliflower. Never thought of this combination before so it sounds delicious and intriguing.

  14. I think this wold make a perfect lunch. I think some good anchovies would put this salad over the top!

  15. I just found you today- I think you take the most lovely photos and I look forward to trying out some of your dishes.

  16. Everything about this dish is beautiful, from the mix of flavors in the ingredients to the photos!

  17. I have looked for this pasta shape here and I can't get it. I need to remember to buy it when I'm traveling and have access to Whole Foods. At first I wasn't sure about this combination, but after reading about it and seeing the picture, I know I'd like it.


  18. I love this combination of savor and sweet, and all the texture combinations. I have never heard of the coladura before, but it sounds like it might be worthwhile for those who like salty flavors.

  19. The cauliflower looks perfect roasted like that! Yum!

  20. This is so timely! Just recently I posted about a roasted cauliflower dish with raisins and vinaigrette...the second time I made it I added almonds to add crunch. And tossing it with pasta--brilliant.


Thank you for your comments, friends ~ they make my day!

A Sampling of my food . . .


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