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Cauliflower Ragu


1 head cauliflower

¾ cup olive oil, divided

½ onion, shredded

5 cloves garlic, chopped

¼ teaspoon chili flakes

1 teaspoon dry oregano

2 anchovy fillets

½ cup white wine

½ cup grated Pecorino Romano, plus rind

1 (28-ounce) can whole San Marzano tomatoes, hand crushed

Salt and pepper to taste

2 pounds fresh rigatoni, or 1 pound dry rigatoni


  1. Remove core of cauliflower and finely chop florets through the stem. In a saucepot set over medium heat, sweat the cauliflower in ½ cup of the olive oil until tender and translucent.
  2. Add onions and sweat until tender and translucent. Add garlic and cook 3 minutes, stirring regularly. Add chili flakes, oregano, and anchovy. Cook 2 minutes. Add wine and cheese rind. Cook 5 minutes.Add tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and simmer 30 minutes, stirring and tasting regularly. (Chef’s note: Make the sauce a day ahead for deeper flavor.)
  3. To assemble the pasta, bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Reserve 2 cups of pasta water before draining.
  4. Add 2 cups of the tomato sauce to pot, along with pasta and enough pasta water to make it come together, about ½ to 1 cup. Return to heat and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in remaining ¼ cup olive oil and grated cheese. Top with more cheese and serve warm.
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