Linguine with Cauliflower, Pine Nuts, and Currants

With its brown-butter sauce, garlic, and Parmesan cheese, this pasta recipe combines flavors from both Northern and Southern Italy.


Slideshow: Satisfying Vegetarian Recipes


  • Servings: 4
KEY: Fall, Winter, Braising, Italian, Pasta & Noodles, Fast, Vegetarian, Dinner

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  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1 medium head cauliflower (about 2 1/2 pounds), cut into small florets
  • 1/2 cup currants or raisins
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes
  • 3/4 pound linguine
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

How to make this recipe

  1. Heat the oven to 350°. Toast the pine nuts until golden brown, about 8 minutes.
  2. Put the cauliflower in a large frying pan. Add the currants, water, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Bring to a simmer over moderate heat and cook, covered, until the cauliflower is almost tender, about 3 minutes. Remove the mixture from the pan.
  3. Put the butter in the pan and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the butter is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Add the cauliflower mixture, the oil, garlic, red-pepper flakes, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  4. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the linguine until just done, about 12 minutes. Reserve 3/4 cup of the pasta water. Drain the linguine and toss with 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water, the cauliflower mixture, pine nuts, Parmesan, and parsley. If the pasta seems dry, add more of the reserved pasta water. Serve with additional Parmesan.

Suggested Pairing

The nuts and fruit, together with the assertive flavor of the cauliflower, are best with an acidic white wine. A bottle of Arneis or Vernaccia from Italy, or alternatively a reasonably priced sparkling wine from California, would be a good choice.

Photo © Melanie Acevedo Published October 2012

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