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Rigatoni with Cauliflower Ragu


For sauce:

1 head cauliflower, cored and chopped into florets

½ cup olive oil

½ onion, grated

5 garlic cloves, chopped

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon dried oregano

2 anchovy fillets

½ cup white wine

1 cheese rind (Wilson uses Grana Padano)

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

Salt and black pepper

For pasta:


2 pounds fresh rigatoni or 1 pound dried rigatoni

¼ cup olive oil

1 cup pecorino romano, grated


  1. Make the sauce: In a saucepot over medium heat, sweat cauliflower in olive oil until tender and translucent. Add onion and sauté until soft, then add garlic and cook for 3 minutes, stirring regularly. Follow with red pepper flakes, oregano, and anchovies, and cook 2 minutes. Pour in wine and add cheese rind, cooking for 5 more minutes. Add tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring regularly and seasoning to taste.
  2. Make the pasta: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season with enough salt that it tastes like seawater. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Reserve 1-2 cups of pasta water before draining. Return drained pasta to pot along with 2 cups sauce and ½-1 cup pasta water (or more if you prefer a thinner sauce) and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Toss with olive oil and ½ cup grated pecorino. Top with remaining pecorino and serve.
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